By KYLIE MADRY
The Mexico City Attorney General’s Office has asked the United States to extradite a longtime Mexican official accused of stealing millions of pesos while in office, a spokesman announced during a press conference Saturday, Oct. 31.
The previous day, the Mexico City Attorney General’s Office, along with the Morelos Attorney General’s Office, searched the house of Raymundo Collins Flores, who served in a number of roles in the Mexico City government from 2002 to 2018.
At his house, in the small lake town of Tequesquitengo in the central state of Morelos, officials seized dozens of classic cars, three personal watercraft, an all-terrain vehicle, a motorcycle and a boat.
According to Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, none of the items were legally registered.
Raymundo Collins first became Mexico City’s deputy police chief in 2002, when now-President Andrés Manuel López Obrador served as the city’s mayor.
Under Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, who is now the country’s foreign secretary, Collins moved on to direct Mexico City’s Centro de Abastos, the nation’s largest wholesale market.
But his alleged criminal activity stems from his time as director of Mexico City’s Housing Institute (Invi), from 2012 to 2016, under then-Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera.
After that, Collins went on to briefly serve as Mexico City’s police chief.
Officials accuse Collins of “diverting” millions of pesos from the Housing Institute to his own pockets.
On Jan. 3, Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum announced the warrant for Collins’ arrest. Two weeks later, the Attorney General’s Office announced that Interpol had put out a “red notice” in more than 200 countries to find and detain Collins.
In March, Collins was banned from holding office in Mexico City for 20 years and ordered to pay a fine of 320 million pesos, after officials found he had illegally purchased a home there.
Six months later, a Mexico City judge signed off on another warrant for Collins’ arrest.
Currently, officials believe he is hiding out in the United States, though they have not said where or what leads them to believe he is there.
He faces up to two years in prison and a fine of around 185,000 pesos, if convicted.
Collins is the latest former Mexico public official to be accused of abusing his power while in office.
Since Sheinbaum became mayor of Mexico City in 2018, three other officials from Mancera’s mayorship have had arrest warrants issued and two have been arrested.
…Nov. 2, 2020