On March 27, 2017 senior American Federal Agents intercepted and detained Edgar Veytia, the Attorney-General of Nayarit state in Mexico, while he attempted to enter the U.S. to visit relatives via one of three official Otay Mesa border crossings in San Diego, California.
In Mexico the Attorney-General of Nayarit is Chief Police Officer and State Prosecutor. The state of Nayarit is home to a popular section of Pacific coastline called the Riviera Nayarit, between resort cities Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta.
Veytia, a forty-six year old Mexican government representative and professional lawyer, was charged with conspiring between 2013 and 2017 to smuggle cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine to America. A December 20, 2013 report verified the extortion, robbery and kidnapping of Nayarit landlords and concessionaires by Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) “sicarios,” shielded by the state’s Attorney-General. The Nayarit official, who secretly used three aliases, was also Mexico’s arm of the law that indicted Sinaloa Cartel’s ex-top boss El Chapo.
A popular Mexican “corrido” or ballad champions the Attorney-General of Nayarit as the “terror” of criminals and “lawyer with a pistol on his belt.” Mexico’s Military Intelligence reports noted during Attorney-General Veytia’s reign that Nayarit was often used as a CJNG hideout and operations base. CJNG is a bitter rival of the Sinaloa Cartel and has consolidated its trafficking campaign in the state of Bajío. Led by El Mencho the criminal syndicate dominates much of the Pacific Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, CJNG enjoys extended influence and power in Quintana Roo southeastern Mexico and controls drug traffic on the Caribbean Sea.
In 2011 the Nayarit state Attorney-General survived a Sinaloa Cartel assassination attempt. In February 2017 a Mexican Army helicopter gunship launched a nighttime attack on a drug traffickers’ sanctuary in Nayarit’s capital Tepic. The operation, recorded on a civilian mobile phone video, went viral across Mexico. Eight suspects were killed by the military. Previously, Mexico’s internal security authorities charged César Duarte Jáquez, the former Governor of Chihuahua state with corruption and issued an arrest warrant.
The state of Chihuahua serves as a main drug trafficking route to America. December 2016 intelligence reports suggested the fugitive Chihuahua official absconded, using a state helicopter to traverse the border and enter El Paso, Texas. Three other Mexican ex-Governors, two from border state Tamaulipas and one from Gulf state Veracruz, are also fugitives. In November 2016 Guillermo Padrés Elias, the former Governor of Sonora state, situated on the border with Arizona, surrendered to Mexico’s internal security personnel. He was wanted on charges of illegal enrichment.
Trends show rogue Mexican government officials provide an extra layer of protection for notorious criminal elements from judicial scrutiny. The March 2017 Nayarit state Attorney-General’s US arrest is akin to the 1997 firing and imprisonment of José de Jesús Gutiérrez Rebollo, a former Mexican Army General. The senior military officer officially performed the role of Mexico’s national Anti-Drug Czar, but clandestinely worked for a well-known criminal syndicate known as the Juarez Cartel.