U.S. authorities have announced the arrest of Hector Javier Villarreal Hernandez, a former Mexican state finance minister wanted for money laundering and bank fraud.
Hernandez is a former finance minister from the Mexican state of Coahuila. He and Coahuila’s former interim governor, Juan Torres Lopez were indicted in Texas and wanted in Mexico for bank fraud, money laundering and wire fraud.
Hernandez is accused of taking out fraudulent bank loans on behalf of the state of Coahuila and pocketing nearly $25 million for his own use. He worked as state finance minister from 2008 when 2011 when he resigned after accusations of fraud surfaced. He was arrested last year in Mexico but escaped to the U.S. on a visa when he was released on bond by Mexican authorities.
Early this month Hernandez, 41, and his wife Maria Botello were stopped in Tyler, Texas for not having a front license plate on the Mercedes SUV they were driving. The routine traffic stop ended with a charge of money laundering when an inspection of the vehicle by deputies resulted in $67,000 in cash being found.
The couple was arrested, then sent to Homeland Security for processing since they were foreign nationals here on a U.S. visa. They were released since their visa was current and before authorities found the outstanding warrant from Mexico on fraud charges. The couple then disappeared when authorities tried to re-arrest them.
On Wednesday Hernandez, unexpectedly, turned himself in to authorities in El Paso, Texas.