US

Mexico: Ex-gov. flees to Texas to evade graft allegations

The former governor of a northern Mexico state has fled to Texas to evade accusations of corruption, his successor said Tuesday.

Chihuahua Gov. Javier Corral said during a news conference that ex-Gov. Cesar Duarte has gone to the border city of El Paso and is considered "a fugitive from justice."

Corral said officials would seek an international arrest and extradition order. He added that three former officials from Duarte's inner circle had been detained.

"He who steals from the government does not just steal a few cents or some millions. He steals opportunities, steals hope, steals the rights of people who aspire to a better life," Corral said.

Duarte is suspected of heading a ring of corruption for personal enrichment.

He could not immediately be reached for comment. But last year he denied wrongdoing and said his assets had been acquired before he became governor.

"I am absolutely clear about what I have done. I have my feet on the ground and above all my forehead held high," Duarte said in an interview with Mexican journalist Carlos Loret de Mola.

An ex-governor of Veracruz is also being sought on suspicion of corruption. Both fugitive politicians belong to the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party of President Enrique Pena Nieto.