Human Rights and Civil Society · Transparency & accountability

Former Mayor of Cancún Released from Federal Prison, Charges Pending

Former Cancún Mayor Gregorio Sánchez, accompanied by his lawyers, leaves the Office of Special Investigations in Mexico City. Credit: Alex Cruz / European Pressphoto Agency

07/20/11 — Gregorio “Greg” Sánchez Martínez, the former mayor of Cancún and candidate for governor of Quintana Roo, was released from federal prison this week in Mexico City. A federal judge dismissed charges against Sánchez related to drug trafficking and money laundering, signaling to some the collapse of a case that began over 14 months ago. Sánchez was first arrested in May of 2010 while campaigning for governor of Quintana Roo at a Cancún airport due to “sufficient evidence of his responsibility” in organized crime, including links to the Zetas cartel, according to Milenio. He was formally charged with the crimes a month later, on July 1, 2010. In a reversal, however, the Federal Attorney General’s Office (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR) ordered Sánchez released this week, over one year after his initial arrest.

While insisting on his innocence and claiming to be a “man of God,” reported Milenio, Sánchez must remain in Mexico City for 20 days under close monitor with an electronic ankle bracelet. In a first for the PGR, the former Mayor must wear the bracelet—equipped with satellite tracking—while new charges of organized crime and trafficking against him are pending. Patricia Bugarín, the head of the Office of Special Investigations on Organized Crime (Subprocuraduría de Investigación Especializada en Delincuencia Organizada) stated Sánchez had not been exonerated of the crimes that he was originally arrested for in May of 2010 and the case was still open and under investigation.

In the current case, the Attorney General’s Office is linking Sánchez to aiding in the smuggling of Cuban migrants, however the office is having difficulty finding a judge to issue the arrest warrant due to a “conflict of jurisdiction,” according to El Universal. Courts in both the states of Quintana Roo and Nayarit disqualified themselves from being able to issue the warrant. The Attorney General’s Office is now seeking the warrant from the Federal court, however that court is currently on a summer vacation.


“Greg se la va de las manos a PGR.” Milenio. July 21, 2011.

Meraz, Fernando. “Greg Sánchez solo quiere estar con su familia: diputado local.” Milenio. July 20, 2011.

Morales, Alberto. “PGR prohíbe a ‘Greg’ que abandone el DF.” El Universal. July 21, 2011.

Wilkinson, Tracy. “Ex-Mayor of Cancun released as case appears to collapse.” Los Angeles Times. July 21, 2011.

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