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Judge orders 30,000 hectares of Duarte property returned to the state of Chihuahua

Matamoros, Chihuahua — A judge has ruled that the government of Chihuahua take possession of the Santa Rita and Sombreretillo ranches that once belonged to former governor César Duarte.

The current state governor, Javier Corral, announced that a Morelos Judicial District judge decreed the abandonment of the 30,000 hectare properties in favor of the state government, for which he ordered their immediate registration in the Public Property Registry.

The properties are located in the municipality of Matamoros in the southwestern region of the state and were listed as cattle ranches. While authorities did find cattle, they also found machinery and vehicles belonging to the state’s government fleet.

Javier Corral announced that the court order was issued on December 23, and that according to investigations, the property was acquired in 2010 at a cost of 60 million pesos by people associated with known acts of political corruption.

The money for the purchase came from the Northern Division Regional Livestock Union, whose president was César Duarte himself. Corral added that according to financial accounting matters, the money was found linked to public resources diverted from the state treasury.

The settlements returned to the state include Rancho El Cuervo, Rancho Santa Rita, Rancho San Juan and Rancho Los Galemes.

César Duarte remains imprisoned in Miami, Florida, where he is waiting for a judge to determine his extradition fate in returning to Mexico to face charges.