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Mexico ex-governor Tomas Yarrington faces cartel charges

image captionTomas Yarrington allegedly took millions of dollars in bribes from the Gulf cartel

US prosecutors have accused the former governor of the northern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, Tomas Yarrington, of links with drug cartels.

Mr Yarrington, who was governor of the border state from 1999 to 2004, has been charged with money laundering.

Prosecutors say he accepted millions of dollars in bribes from the Gulf Cartel in return for allowing it to smuggle large amounts of cocaine into the US.

Mr Yarrington, who is being sought by the US, has denied the charges.

His lawyer said the charges were politically motivated and denied his client was hiding from the authorities.

According to the prosecution, Mr Yarrington started receiving payments from the Gulf drugs cartel when he was running for governor of Tamaulipas, a north-eastern Mexican state bordering Texas criss-crossed by drug smuggling routes.

He allegedly continued accepting the bribes during his tenure, investing the money in properties across Texas,The indictment also accuses Mr Yarrington of accepting cocaine in exchange for facilitating access to Mexican ports.

Mr Yarrington was suspended from the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) last year after allegations of his ties with the Gulf cartel surfaced.

The Gulf cartel is one of Mexico's largest criminal organisations with extensive international connections.

It engages in drug trafficking, extortion, kidnapping and murder from its power base in Matamoros, Tamaulipas.

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