Former PEMEX Surrenders to U.S. for Extradition to Mexico but U.S. Awaits Warrant

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Thursday, August 1, 2002
Bruce Zagaris
On July 1, 2002, in a unique case Rogelio Montemayor, the former Mexican state oil director surrendered to U.S. authorities in Houston after some months as a fugitive, but the surrendered took U.S. authorities (e.g., the FBI, the Marshals Service and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas) by surprise as they were not aware of any arrest warrant against him. On July 2, 2002, U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas in the Southern District of Texas convened a hearing. Mr. Montemayor requested bail and an extradition hearing, so that Mexico would have 60 days to show probable cause that a crime was committed and he was responsible. A U.S. judge would then determine if he must be returned to Mexico for trial. Mr. Monetemayor explained that he intended to confront the charges against him and put his trust fully in the judiciary of the Republic of Mexico and the ?independence and honestly of the judges and justices there.? Since May 8, 2002, Mexican prosecutors have sought Mr. Montemayor on charges that he approved more than $200 million in questionable payments to the labor union of Pemex for use in the presidential campaign of Francisco Labastida Ochoa, the PRI candidate. Mr. Montemayor says the Pemex board of directors, the finance minister, and the Congress through the annual budget process approved these expenditures. If convicted, Mr. Montemayor faces up to 12 years in prison.