Photo: Rodrigo Vallejo Mora
A Mexican court on Friday formally charged the son of the former governor of the western state of Michoacan with obstruction for his refusal to answer questions about his videotaped meeting with a drug kingpin.
Rodrigo Vallejo Mora, who has been behind bars since last weekend, was ordered held, even though defendants charged with obstruction are usually granted pre-trial release.
His father, Fausto Vallejo, resigned as Michoacan’s governor in June - ostensibly for health reasons - amid a storm of criticism after the federal government deployed soldiers and police in the state to end a wave of drug-related violence.
Fausto Vallejo had also faced criticism after the appearance of an earlier video showing his son in the company of Servando Gomez, leader of the Caballeros Templarios, the drug cartel that has been terrorizing Michoacan for the last few years.
Last week’s release of the second video of Vallejo Mora with Gomez prompted the Attorney General’s Office to summon the politician’s son for questioning.
When Vallejo Mora refused to talk, the AG’s office hauled him before a federal judge.
So far, Vallejo Mora has said only that he met with Gomez amid death threats against him and his brother and that he was taken to the meeting by gunmen.
Vallejo Mora is seen in the video drinking beer and speaking with Gomez in a relaxed manner.
Attorneys for Vallejo Mora are expected to renew their efforts to have him released pending trial.
Jesus Reyna Garcia, who served as interim governor of Michoacan when Fausto Vallejo took a medical leave of absence in 2013, and transportation industry leader Jose Trinidad Martinez Pasalagua have also been arrested due to the their links to the Caballeros Templarios.