News, features, and commentary from the biggest city in the Americas, Mexico City.
Elba Esther Gordillo, head of Mexico’s public teachers’ union, the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de Educación (SNTE), has been arrested by federal police on charges of unlawful use of public money.
Gordillo is accused by the PGR of being involved in money laundering, and for use of illicit funds obtained by diverting money from the SNTE for her personal use.
She was detained upon arrival at Toluca Airport Tuesday evening, where she was arriving on a private jet from Coronado, California (San Diego), where she has two multi-million dollar homes — just two of the dozens of residences said to be owned by the head of the teachers’ union.
Gordillo was arrested along with three other union officials.
The nation’s attorney general, Jesús Murillo Karam, who’s in charge of the Procuraduría General de la República (PGR), accuses Ms. Gordillo and her top officials of diverting some MXN $2.6 billion pesos (over USD$200 million).
Ms. Gordillo was escorted by a convoy of eight police cars to the women’s prison at Santa Martha Acatitla, where she was booked at 10:48 pm this Tuesday evening.
Among other questionable uses of money, the attorney general highlighted union “expenses” of $2.1 million at the Neiman Marcus store in San Diego.
It was also noted that a large sum of money went for “plastic surgery” services.
As of midday Wednesday, Gordillo is also facing the charge of being involved in organized crime (delincuencia organizada).
MORE: Our Feb 27 editorial, The Fall of Elba Esther Gordillo.