Spanish.- The Sinaloa Cartel, known for being one of the most aggressive groups in the Mexican drug trade, contributed up to four million dollars to Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) campaign during the 2006 presidential elections. This was revealed by joint investigations conducted in 2010 by the Southern District of New York Federal Prosecutor’s Office and the DEA, which recently came to light.
In a report by DW, journalist Anabel Hernández delved into how these operations of delivery, receipt, and channeling of illicit funds took place between members of the Sinaloa Cartel and AMLO’s inner circle, confirming the irregular financing.
- Also a good reading: Mexico, the Dilemma of Voting for a Comedian or an “Alleged” Rapist
- Also a good reading: Rocky Start to Biden-AMLO Relationship
According to sources cited by Hernández in this first part, the money was delivered by Arturo Beltrán Leyva, a cartel leader, to members of AMLO’s campaign team. In return, the criminal organization sought protection, as well as influence in the appointment of the Attorney General of the Republic, in case López Obrador won the elections against Felipe Calderón, who was elected on this occasion.
The key players in this plot include ‘La Barbie’ (Edgar Valdéz Villarreal), a known negotiator for the Sinaloa Cartel, and the recipients of the money in AMLO’s team: Nicolás Mollinedo, driver and logistics coordinator, and Mauricio Soto Caballero, current member of Morena’s congress and collaborator of AMLO for over 18 years.
Other individuals mentioned in the series of confidential reports held by the Southern District of New York Federal Prosecutor’s Office include Francisco León García, known by his alias ‘Pancho León,’ who was a candidate for senator for the PRD in 2006 and disappeared in 2007, along with Emilio Dipp Jones, a businessman present in the negotiations.
A deeper investigation mentioned by DW reveals that a significant portion of the money was delivered at Aristóteles 131, Polanco, the location of Mollinedo and Soto Caballero’s offices. Additionally, the text also mentions a delivery at a restaurant in Polanco, where ‘El R’ handed money to Soto Caballero.
Despite AMLO’s official loss in the 2006 elections, the investigation also highlights that the Sinaloa Cartel allocated resources to Calderón’s campaign, obtaining protection during his government. Roberto López Nájera, a collaborating witness in 2008, was crucial in the investigation for being an operator for the Beltrán Leyva and responsible for the cartel’s bribery payments to authorities in Mexico.