04/11/14 (written by lcalderón) — José Jesús Reyna García—the Secretary General of the Mexican state of Michoacan, or second in command under the governor—was removed from his position and detained under an order of arraigo on April 6, 2014. Reyna, who served as the state’s interim governor in 2013, is accused of having close ties with drug cartels, specifically with the Knight Templar Organization (Caballeros Templarios, KTO). The Attorney General’s Office for Special Investigations on Organized Crime (Subprocuraduría Especializada en Investigación de Delincuencia Organizada, SEIDO) requested the holding of the former public servant after “the Public Prosecutor’s Office [Procuraduría General de la República, PGR]…found possible contacts with criminal organizations,” writes Mexico Voices in a translation of the Attorney General’s Office’s (PGR) press release on Reyna’s detention in La Jornada. “To enable the investigation to dig deeper,” it continues, “the PGR requested el arraigo while potential liabilities are fixed.” Reyna is now in holding under Public Prosecutor’s Office awaiting the results of investigation.
Although the practicehas been a controversial judicial instrument and has been banned from use at the state level, arraigo is still allowed at the national level when the case involves organized crime. It is a preventative detention of suspects without any charges for 40 days, which can be extended up to 80 days with a judge’s approval. Although an oft-criticized instrument by national and international human rights defenders and legal experts, Mexico recently denied the U.N. Human Rights Council’s recommendation to eliminate its use.
Senator Luisa María Calderón and self-defense group (autodefensas) leader José Manuel Mireles accused Secretary Reyna of having close links with the Knights Templar Organization, which they claim allowed him and current Michoacán Governor Fausto Vallejo Figueroa a guaranteed win in the 2011 elections. As reported in Radio Fórmula, Mireles notes that self-defense groups are unsure why Reyna would build ties with organized crime because he and Governor Vallejo could have easily won the election without having to pressure people for votes. There are also accusations from Manuel “El Mani” Gutiérrez Mesinas—former associate of now-deceased KTO leader Enrique “Kike” Plancarte—that reveal Reyna’s involvement in organized crime activities and a potential family relation with Servando “La Tuta” Gómez Martínez, the remaining KTO leader. Even though Governor Vallejo has been mentioned several times during the investigation, PGR authorities do not have enough data to hold against him.
In reaction to the Secretary’s arraigo detention, Governor Vallejo responded that Reyna was an efficient official, but that his personal activities outside of the state government would not be overlooked because of his excellent public service. The state is now awaiting Governor Vallejo’s appointee for Secretary General following Reyna’s removal from the post in earlier this month.