Friday, November 22, 2019 6:59 PM EST
By MARÍA VERZA, AP
MEXICO CITY (AP) — A Mexico judge whom the U.S. Treasury Department accuses of ties to Jalisco New Generation, one of the country’s bloodiest drug cartels, was arrested in the city of Guadalajara on Friday, judicial authorities said.
Mexico’s General Council of the Judiciary, which announced the arrest of 59-year-old Isidro Avelar Gutiérrez and said he was being taken to Mexico City, had filed a complaint against him with federal prosecutors in May over purported “asset irregularities and additional income.”
Earlier that month the U.S. Treasury Department designated and sanctioned Avelar Gutiérrez under the Kingpin Act “because of his actions on behalf” of Jalisco New Generation and an allied group known as Los Cuinis. It alleged he had taken bribes from the two organizations “in exchange for providing favorable judicial rulings to their senior members.”
Jalisco New Generation takes its name from Jalisco state, of which Guadalajara is the capital, and its aggressive expansion and brutal violence have posed a major challenge to Mexican police and soldiers.
Washington considers it one of the world’s five most dangerous transnational criminal organizations, responsible for trafficking tons of cocaine, methamphetamine and fentanyl to the United States as well as for a high death toll.
“Officials such as Isidro Avelar Gutiérrez ... callously enrich themselves at the cost of their fellow citizens,” Treasury said in its May designation, which also sanctioned former Gov. Roberto Sandoval of the neighboring state of Nayarit for alleged corruption including misappropriating government funds and taking bribes from Jalisco New Generation.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has repeatedly denounced corruption in the judiciary but contends that the court system is being cleaned up of judges who protect criminals.
“With results, we continue to demonstrate the policy of zero tolerance for corruption” to build a “solid and trustworthy” judiciary for the people,” Supreme Court President Arturo Zaldívar said Friday via Twitter after the arrest was announced.