Photo: Mexico's Supreme Court Clerk Arrested
A Mexican Supreme Court official was arrested and arraigned in federal court for allegedly having links to a drug cartel, the high court said.
Juan Carlos de la Barrera Vite was arrested on July 29 in the Pacific port city of Acapulco and arraigned on Aug. 7 by a federal judge.
The suspect, who is being held at a prison in Matamoros, a border city in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, was a clerk for the high court and worked for Justice Sergio Valls.
The federal Attorney General’s Office has charged the court official with working for the Sinaloa drug cartel, which is led by Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman.
Justice Valls “did not have nor does he have any links to the acts alleged against the said person” and “at no time did sensitive information from the judicial body or its work get compromised,” the Supreme Court said.
De la Barrera Vite worked as a clerk in the past, but “he only did administrative work in the personnel area in recent years,” the Supreme Court said.
The suspect allegedly handed over confidential information to the Sinaloa cartel, Mexico’s most powerful drug trafficking organization, the Mexican press reported Saturday.
De la Barrera Vite took his orders from Felipe Cabrera Sarabia, who was arrested on Dec. 23, 2011, in Culiacan, the capital of the northwestern state of Sinaloa, the El Universal newspaper said.
Cabrera Sarabia was allegedly in charge of the Sinaloa cartel’s operations in Durango state and the southern part of Chihuahua state, the newspaper said.
The case against De la Barrera Vite is being handled by the Siedo organized crime unit of the AG’s office.
The Sinaloa organization, sometimes referred to by officials as the Pacific cartel, is the oldest drug cartel in Mexico and has an extensive drug distribution network in the United States.
Guzman, who was arrested in Guatemala in 1993 and pulled off a Hollywood-style jailbreak when he escaped from the Puente Grande maximum-security prison in the western state of Jalisco on Jan. 19, 2001, is considered the most powerful drug trafficker in the world.
Chapo Guzman tops the list of Mexico’s 37 most-wanted criminals and is on the Forbes list of the world’s richest people.
Guzman, Mexico’s most-wanted man, has been on the list of U.S. drug kingpins since June 1, 2001.
The Sinaloa cartel, according to intelligence agencies, is a transnational business empire that operates in the United States, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the Americas and Asia.