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US to Drop Drug Charges Against Michoacán Politician Featured on the DEA Most-Wanted List

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“MX” for Borderland Beat

Elections in Mexico took place on Sunday, June 7. Rogelio Portillo Jaramillo was defeated during his run for mayor of Huetamo, Michoacan.
On June 7, after Huetamo, Michoacán, mayoral candidate Rogelio Portillo Jaramillo, lost the election, the US government moved to drop his drug charges following a petition from his US-based attorney Bryan K. Best.

Portillo Jaramillo was accused by the US Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of cocaine trafficking in Texas since 2006, along with some relatives. The accusation against another person included in the file will also be dismissed. This information was confirmed by his Mexican attorney Andres Sanchez.

Portillo-Jaramillo was wanted on drug-related charges in the Houston, Texas, area. The candidate has been accused of having ties to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).

On social media, Portillo-Jaramillo said that he was aware of the DEA investigation and denied any ties to organized crime.

“There are several videos on social media saying things about me. They say that the DEA [was] looking for me, but I am the official and legal candidate of Morena,” he said.

In a press conference on April 26, Portillo-Jaramillo said that he had personally called the DEA to find out if he was wanted. He said the DEA reportedly responded to him saying they were not looking for him. He added that when he registered as an official candidate, he presented a criminal record at the state and federal level. If he had an arrest warrant against him, he argued, he would not have been able to run for mayor.

However, this criminal record does not include outstanding charges in foreign countries, so a pending DEA investigation would not appear on the record.

As of June 9, 2021, Portillo Jaramillo was still on the DEA’s most-wanted fugitives page.

Rogelio Portillo-Jaramillo in the DEA portal.

Marcelino Portillo-Mendoza, Rogelio’s uncle, is also wanted by the DEA

Portillo-Jaramillo’s family has long been accused of having ties to drug cartels. His uncle Marcelino Portillo Mendoza is also on the DEA’s most-wanted list for outstanding drug trafficking charges.

His cousin Francisco Jaramillo Valdovinos (alias “Chico Jaramillo”), is a suspected leader of a CJNG cell in Michoacan. This cell currently competes with Jose Gonzalez Pineda (“Don Jose”) and Johnny Hurtado Olascoaga (“El Pez), leaders of the rival La Familia Michoacana.

Huetamo municipality, where Portillo-Jaramillo was running for mayor, borders the state of Guerrero in southern Mexico. His uncle Gregorio Portillo Mendoza was mayor in Zirándaro, Guerrero, about a 30 min drive from Huetamo. In 2019, La Familia Michoacana accused him of being involved with the CJNG. He was kidnapped in March 2021 and released hours later.


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