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  • Former governor of Mexican state Veracruz, Javier Duarte, was detained in a hotel in Panajachel, Guatemala.

    Former governor of Mexican state Veracruz, Javier Duarte, was detained in a hotel in Panajachel, Guatemala. | Photo: EFE

Published 17 April 2017

One of Mexico's most wanted awaits his extradition after being detained in Guatemala.

After being detained for one of the biggest corruption scandals in Mexico, former governor of the state of Veracruz, Javier Duarte, is now awaitig extradition after more than five months being a fugitive.

'Catch Me If You Can:' Mexican Governor on the Lam?

According to the government, the extradition process has already begun and will take a couple of months. The state attorney's office said it had requested the government of Guatemala detain Duarte so that he could be extradited.

"I had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Duarte and he says he is awaiting his extradition and his lawyers from Mexico. I understand that he will accept his extradition," said Duarte's lawyer Rodrigo Sandoval.

Duarte is being held in a small military jail in Guatemala, where several politicians and drug lords are being held, after being arrested Saturday night at a hotel in Panajachel, a tourist village on the shores of Lake Atitlan. Matamoros prison, in a military complex in the capital, has only 27 inmates, in contrast with the overpopulated prisons in other parts of Guatemala.

The prison is known as the "politicians' prison" in the country after it was the first prison where former President Otto Perez Molina was taken after his arrest in 2015 amid a corruption scandal.

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Marvin "El Taquero" Montiel, one of the bloodiest drug lords in Guatemala, is also held in the same the prison, sentenced to 800 years for killing dozens of people. Five lawmakers are also detained on the premises.

The Mexican government has 60 days to formally ask for the extradition, and after that Duarte will have a hearing and can begin his defense. The former governor of Veracruz was traveling with his wife, who was not detained.

The former governor faces charges of organized crime, racketeering and corruption. Mexico's Attorney General declared Duarte a fugitive in October, when he lost his immunity and fled only days after announcing that he would take a leave of absence to address his legal situation. 

The 43-year-old politician was once praised by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto as a member of a new generation of politicians who were going to transform Mexico.

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