Ex-Mexican gov guilty in NY money laundering case

August 3, 2012 - 9:35 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — A former state governor of Mexico has pleaded guilty in New York to conspiring to launder millions of dollars in cocaine bribe payments.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (buh-RAH'-ruh) says Mario Ernesto Villanueva Madrid pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering conspiracy Thursday in federal court. Authorities say Villanueva Madrid conspired to launder the money from the Juarez Cartel through bank accounts in the U.S. and other countries.

Bharara said Friday the Juarez Cartel is one of Mexico's most violent cocaine cartels.

Villanueva Madrid is the former governor of Quintana Roo, where Cancun is located. He was extradited from Mexico in 2010 and initially pleaded not guilty to drug-related charges.

The 64-year-old faces up to 20 years in prison. He'll be sentenced Oct. 26.

His attorney hasn't returned an email seeking comment.