CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A former Mexican political appointee from the State of Tamaulipas, Mexico, was indicted for conspiring to launder monetary instruments, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and two counts of bank fraud.
This indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas.
The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation leading to this indictment was conducted by the following U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) offices: McAllen, San Antonio, Brownsville, Houston, Laredo and Corpus Christi. The investigation was also conducted by FBI, Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation, and Drug Enforcement Administration.
Pablo Zarate Juarez is the former Instituto Tamaulipeco De Vivienda Y Urbanismo (ITAVU) director in the State of Tamaulipas, Mexico. The criminal indictment, returned Wednesday, is a result of the efforts of the OCDETF investigation.
ITAVU is the Tamaulipas Institute for Housing and Urban Development. Zarate Juarez was appointed to the position of director of ITAVU by former Tamaulipas Governor Tomas Yarrington Ruvalcaba. ITAVU is the department in Tamaulipas responsible for supporting lower income residents with housing programs and financing programs.
A previously filed Verified Civil Complaint for Forfeiture in Rem regarding a 2005 Pilatus Aircraft, bearing tail number N679PE, is listed in the forfeiture provision of the indictment against Zarate. The Pilatus aircraft is the same aircraft that is also listed in the notice of forfeiture in the pending criminal indictment charging former Tamaulipas Governor Tomas Yarrington Ruvalcaba. In the civil case, it is alleged that Yarrington is the true owner and that he purchased the aircraft through several straw purchasers in a complex money laundering scheme. The laundered proceeds are alleged to have included drug cartel money.
If convicted of the money laundering conspiracy, Zarate faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a possible $500,000 fine (or twice the value of the monetary instrument or funds involved in the transactions or both). Upon conviction of the bank fraud charge, Zarate also faces up to 30 years in federal prison and a potential $1 million fine.
Zarate is not in U.S. custody; a warrant remains outstanding for his arrest. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact Homeland Security Investigations at 956-542-5811. Persons calling from Mexico should call 001-800-010-5237.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie K. Hampton, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting this case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.