01/07/14 — Sara Luz Herrera Cano, the former mayor of Alvaradro, Veracruz, was arrested the night of January 2 for her alleged involvement in orchestrating the murder of her secretary in July 2013. Complying with orders from a Veracruz district court, members of the Veracruz Investigation Agency (Agencia Veracruzana de Investigaciones) detained Herrera at a hotel just two days after she left office. She was then transferred to the Pacho Viejo prison where she awaits judicial proceedings.
Herrera’s arrest was not totally unexpected given the investigation launched by the Veracruz State Attorney General’s Office (Procuraduría General de la Justicia del Estado, PGJE) into the matter, as well as the public attention the case has received in the past few months. The former mayor’s secretary, Michel Martínez Corro—who not only was employed by Herrera for ten years, but was also living with her during that time—, was reported missing on July 29, 2013. His body was found less than a week later alongside that of taxi driver Nicolas “N” in a shallow grave on August 4th in the town of La Loma, a suburb of Baca del Río, Veracruz. As suspicion into Herrera’s involvement in Martínez’s murder grew in the months that followed, the PGJE requested on October 24 that Congress strip the mayor of her right to avoid criminal charges while in office (a legal term known as desafuero). This request was still in debate by the time Herrera’s mayoral term concluded on December 31, 2013, at which point Alvarado’s new mayor, Octavio Ruiz Barroso, took office. Herrera was arrested not 48 hours after her immunity was revoked.
Despite the controversial nature of the case given Herrera’s political standing and as a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional, PRI), Veracruz Attorney General Felipe Amadeo Flores Espinosa applauded the arrest. “In Veracruz, there is no place for impunity,” he said. “Everyone that commits egregious crimes against citizens should be subject to punishment under the law.” Veracruz Governor Javier Duarte concurred, underlying that “The law is the law, and anyone in any situation that violates the legal order, that goes against that which the law establishes, will face the consequences established by law.” Nevertheless, Herrera has continued her claim that the case against her is nothing more than a political campaign, and that the PGJE’s persecution of her is unjust.
Read more about the case involving former Mayor Herrera here.