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Former Interim Mexican Governor Pleads Guilty in International Money-Laundering Scheme

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Posted: Jun 19, 2020 7:00 PM
Former Interim Mexican Governor Pleads Guilty in International Money-Laundering Scheme

Source: AP Photo/Gregory Bull

The former interim governor of Coahuila, Mexico's third-largest state, has pleaded guilty to participating in a transnational money-laundering scheme.

Jorge Juan Torres-Lopez, 66, who was the interim governor of Coahuila in 2011, conducted transactions in the U.S. to conceal bribes he received for assigning road-building contracts in Coahuila. Torres-Lopez pleaded guilty on Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Torres-Lopez was arrested in Mexico in Feb. 2019 and extradited to the U.S. in Oct. 2019. As part of this plea agreement, Torres-Lopez forfeited real property in the U.S. associated with the payments he received.  

According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Torres-Lopez served at Coahuila's secretary of finance and general director of promotion and development when he worked for the Mexican government from 1994 to 2011. He also served as the municipal president of Saltillo, the capital city of Coahuila. 

Hector Javier Villareal-Hernandez, 49, who served as Coahuila's secretary of finance under Torres-Lopez, has also been convicted of money laundering crimes and is currently awaiting sentencing. 

ICE says the prosecutor general of the Republic of Mexico and the Department of Justice's Office of International Affairs (Criminal Division) provided significant assistance in the prosecution of the case. 

Torres-Lopez faces up to 20 years behind bars and a fine of $500,000, twice the value of the monetary instruments or funds involved in the transaction, or both.