Mexico arrests former party official in corruption case

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican authorities detained a former official of President Enrique Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party on Wednesday in a corruption case involving a fugitive ex-governor.

Alejandro Gutierrez is reportedly suspected of participating in a scheme to divert about 240 million pesos ($12 million) in public funds for political campaigning.

Gov. Javier Corral of the northern border state of Chihuahua said in statements on social media that Gutierrez was arrested in the morning by federal and state police in Chihuahua.

"This arrest ... contributes to clearing up the crimes of political corruption that have been imputed to ex-Gov. Cesar Duarte Jaquez, who has accumulated 10 arrest warrants against him," Corral said, adding that the case involves the alleged diversion of public money to the 2016 electoral campaign of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.

Duarte was governor of Chihuahua in 2010-2016 and was succeeded last year by Corral, a member of the conservative opposition National Action Party.

Duarte was said earlier this year to have fled to the United States. At the time Corral declared him "a fugitive from justice" and said officials would seek an international arrest and extradition order.

Duarte, who last year denied involvement in any wrongdoing, is one of several PRI ex-governors who fled the country following accusations of corruption in a string of embarrassments for the party.

Former Gov. Javier Duarte of Veracruz, who is not related to Cesar Duarte, was arrested in Guatemala in April, and ex-Gov. Tomas Yarrington of Tamaulipas was arrested the same month in Italy. Both were PRI politicians.

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