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US bans former Mexican governor from entering country

Washington — The United States government has banned the former governor of the state of Nayarit from entering the US due to his involvement in “significant corruption cases.”

Former Nayarit governor Roberto Sandoval, along with his wife and children, are prohibited from entering the United States. The announcement came from the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who, on social media, wrote “He improperly seized state assets and accepted bribes from drug traffickers,” in reference to Sandoval.

Sigal Mandelker, undersecretary of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, had already warned that the ex-president of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and “other corrupt officials ” would face “serious consequences” including isolation of the US financial system.

Roberto Sandoval has not been arrested and his whereabouts are unknown despite being investigated for his links to organized crime by authorities in both Mexico and the United States.

The Department of the Treasury, through the Office for the Control of Foreign Assets, froze Sandoval’s bank accounts after links were found between him and criminal organizations, mainly the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG). The US government investigation also includes a network of nine people and 10 companies used to launder illegal resources of the CJNG.

Suspicions about Sandoval’s criminal conduct are not new with the Mexican justice system tracking his footsteps since 2017, when the wealth of the governor did not correspond to that of a public official of a state that does not have 2 million people.

“Officials like Roberto Sandoval are cruelly enriched at the expense of their fellow citizens, whether they are receiving bribes from drug trafficking organizations or participating in a variety of other illegal activities,” said Mandelker.

The United States has already crushed one of the most powerful criminal arms that the Mexican mafia had in the Nayarit government. In September, Edgar Veytia, the local prosecutor during Sandoval’s term, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in a New York court room for drug trafficking.

Sandoval goverened the state of Nayarit from 2011 to 2017.