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HomeBusinessJudge calls retired Mexican general a flight risk, keeps him jailed to face extradition case

Judge calls retired Mexican general a flight risk, keeps him jailed to face extradition case


Bob Mackin

A British Columbia Supreme Court judge ordered a retired Mexican general to remain in jail indefinitely after refusing his bail application on Dec. 23. 

Eduardo Leon Trauwitz, 55, was arrested Dec. 17 in Metro Vancouver. The Mexican government wants the former head of security for state oil company Pemex extradited to face charges of fuel theft and organized crime. If convicted, Trauwitz faces up to 60 years in prison.

B.C.-arrested Eduardo Leon Trauwitz

Justice Veronica Jackson denied the bail proposal from Trauwitz’s lawyer for him to reside at his daughter’s Surrey apartment under an 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew. His daughter, a university business student, had proposed acting as a $20,000 surety, but Jackson said she was unable to provide any monetary deposit. 

In Jackson’s oral judgment, she ruled Trauwitz did not meet the test for bail, because he is “not ordinarily resident in Canada, he has very few ties that bind him here.

“He faces removal from Canada if he is committed for surrender, and a sentence involving a significant period of imprisonment if convicted in Mexico,” Jackson said. “He has a history of failing to appear in court and fleeing the jurisdiction, rather than facing the charges against him.”

Trauwitz arrived in Vancouver in May 2019, instead of appearing in a Mexican court that week. He since applied for refugee status in Canada. He has a work permit, but the court said he has not been employed. 

“It is alleged that between January 2015 and August 2016, Mr. Trauwitz used his position at the state-controlled company Pemex to facilitate the theft of at least 1.87 billion litres of hydrocarbon from clandestine taps in Pemex pipelines,” Jackson said. 

Jackson said a lawyer for former Pemex employees filed a criminal complaint in March 2017 to the office of Mexico’s Attorney General, claiming the employees were threatened with firing if they did not agree to manipulate clandestine taps found in Pemex pipelines.

“Through the investigation, statements were obtained from Pemex employees who witnessed the illegal conduct and identified the person primarily responsible for it to be Mr. Trauwitz,” she said. 

Trauwitz’s next court Vancouver appearance is Jan. 26.

Trauwitz, who was a bodyguard to ex-president Enrique Peña Nieto, denies the charges.

On Dec. 22, Trauwitz’s lawyer Tom Arbogast called his client the “fall guy.”

“Mr. Trauwitz was the one who was trying to stop hydrocarbon theft and his actions actually prohibited other corrupt individuals from engaging in carbon theft,” Arbogast said. “They are now turning that back against him because they are higher up in the political food chain.”

Mexico’s state oil company Pemex

In 2018, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, aka “AMLO,” estimated losses due to fuel theft at $2.5 billion to $3.5 billion a year. At the end of October 2021, a pipeline exploded in Puebla state and one person was killed in a botched theft attempt.

Trauwitz is the second high-profile Mexican to face extradition in B.C. this century.

Miners’ union boss Napoleon Gomez Urrutia fled to Vancouver in 2006 and spent 12 years in exile. He was accused of embezzling $55 million from a union trust fund. During his time in the city, Gomez became a Canadian citizen. In 2018, he returned to Mexico when “AMLO” appointed him a senator.

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