April 20, 2018 / 7:12 PM / a year ago

Former Mexican governor extradited from Italy to U.S.: source

FILE PHOTO: Tomas Yarrington poses after a news conference in Mexico City, Mexico May 23, 2005. REUTERS/Daniel Aguilar/File Photo

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A former Mexican governor accused of having ties to Mexican drug cartels has been extradited to the United States from Italy, a Mexican security source said on Friday.

Tomas Yarrington, who governed the state of Tamaulipas from 1999 to 2005 for the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), was arrested last year by Italian police and remained in a jail in Florence pending an extradition request from a federal judge in Texas.

Yarrington has been accused by U.S. and Mexican prosecutors of accepting millions of dollars in bribes from criminal organizations in Mexico. He is also accused of extortion and money laundering. If convicted, he could face up to two life sentences in the United States and up to 20 years in prison in Mexico.

A lawyer for Yarrington was not immediately available to comment.

Last week, the Italian government declined to extradite Yarrington to Mexico, Italian media reported, without giving a reason.

The PRI, the party of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, has been engulfed by various corruption scandals that have sent four of its former governors to prison.

Corruption is one of the top issues heading into Mexico’s presidential election in July.

Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; writing by Julia Love, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien

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