Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Tamaulipas Ex-Governor Gets 9 Years for Money Laundering

"Sol Prendido" and "Morogris" for Borderland Beat

Tomás Yarrington Ruvalcaba was born in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, the bastion of the Gulf Cartel. He was served as Mayor of Matamoros from 1993 to 1995, before he ran for Governor of Tamaulipas.
Tomas Yarrington, the former governor of the border state of Tamaulipas, was sentenced to (9) nine years in prison by a US federal judge in Houston, Texas.

Yarrington was the Governor of Tamaulipas from 1999 to 2005. During his governorship, he was accused of protecting the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas by taking millions in bribes. Among his formal charges include racketeering, drug trafficking, money laundering and bank fraud. After fleeing Mexico, Yarrington was arrested in Florence, Italy, in 2017 and extradited to the U.S. the following year. 

In 2021, Yarrington pleaded guilty and said he accepted $3.5 million in illegal bribe money and used it fraudulently to purchase multiple assets, including airplanes, a South Padre Island condo, a residence in Port Isabel, homes in McAllen and an Austin suburb and a partial ownership in a planned mixed-use development off La Cantera Parkway in San Antonio.

As part of the plea, Yarrington also detailed how he accepted bribes from individuals and private companies in Mexico to do business with the state of Tamaulipas while he served as governor.

This plea, however, meant that his alleged crimes that directly tied him to Mexican cartels were dropped.

“The governor is happy to put this behind him and happy that the court and the government both determined that he had no involvement with the cartels, and his sentence reflected that,” Flood said.

“Even if you are governor of a Mexican state, we will not stand idly by when you use your position to wrongfully fill your pockets and violate the laws of the United States.” said Alamdar Hamdani, the U.S. Attorney in Houston. “Today’s prison sentence for Yarrington concludes a multi-year, multi-agency international investigation spanning two continents concluding in bringing a corrupt politician to justice.”

Originally, Yarrington faced up to life in prison if he had been convicted of the racketeering or drug trafficking conspiracy charges the U.S. government leveled against him eight years ago. 

In more than 15,000 digital documents consisting of 100,000 pages, US investigators detailed how Yarrington took bribes from the Gulf Cartel, Los Zetas, and the Beltran Leyva Cartel, and actively participated in drug trafficking operations. Authorities from multiple law enforcement agencies had pictures, information about warrants, seizures, and protected witness testimonies framing him as a top cartel figure.

Borderland Beat reports show that Yarrington was a key figure in the Gulf Cartel's ascension as one of Mexico's leading criminal groups in the late 1990s and early 2000s. During that era, the cartel was headed by kingpin Osiel Cardenas Guillen. US prosecutors walked away from the allegations and dismissed these serious charges after Yarrington pleaded guilty.

Sources: SA Express News; Borderland Beat archives


  1. Of course he's smiling. He got a year for each $300,000.

  2. He was facing life + and only got 9 years and has to serve 7 1/2 of which he has maybe two years left. You have to wonder what and who he gave up. He was in U.S. custody for five years. That's enough time to tell his whole life story with time left to spare.

    1. Detroit, you used to be a Fed. As such, you know how long them trials and investigations take. Especially at this level on the drug hierarchy. Flores Twins were down how many years before being sentenced? It’s levels to this sh1t.

    2. The Flores twins were far more complex. Yarrington wasn't up to his neck in the game like the Flores twins and didn't have as much to give. It does appear that he gave up what he had.
      A lot of people don't understand his sentence but he was more on the periphery of drug trafficking. More on the line of conspiracy rather than trafficking which is much harder to prove in court. His U.S. charges were more in line with the bank fraud and money laundering. The toughest charge that he actually faced was racketeering.
      It's not against U.S. law for a foreign national to accept bribes in a foreign country. He crossed the line when he invested his illgotten gains in the U.S. This is what gave the U.S. jurisdiction. The conspiracy and racketeering gave the U.S. jurisdiction when it involved drugs transported into the U.S.
      His crimes substantially affected Mexico more than the U.S. Mexico should have been given their opportunity to get their pound of flesh. The final chapter hasn't been written yet so we will have to wait to see if he is deported to Mexico and faces charges there or remains in the U.S. or goes to a third country.
      Drug traffickers are a higher priority for the U.S. than these peripheral players. The Flores twins were a huge win for the U.S. Anyway, the U.S. got it's pound of flesh out of Yarrington. I'm sure he took in far more than $3.5 million. He most likely had to share that but I believe he has a little change squirreled away somewhere.

  3. As long as american judges and prosecutors make such deals, mexico should send tons of fent. What a joke, in jail since 2017, 5 years since then, 4 years left, out in 1 or 2?
    20years at least would be fair but not this bullshit

    1. Don’t hate the player hate the games system

    2. But but but but, No Period Dude.
      The President of the Republic of Mexico, has said Fentanyl, Fentanyl does not come from Mexico.

    3. Well, it technically doesn’t originate from Mexico. Neither does Cocaine. However, it can be either or both, processed and smuggled into the US from Mexico. Period.

  4. Replies
    1. Chapo did not snitch. He only told them all the missing details, truthfully, during a casual debriefing! That’s all sheeesh.

  5. 3.5 million my a*s… he has stashed about 30 million. He didn’t give up all the candy.

  6. Guy has money and properties all around tamps and texas, perro no come perro


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