A former high-ranking Mexican military official is being held in a British Columbia jail.
Eduardo Leon Trauwitz was arrested Dec. 17 and made an appearance before a B.C. Supreme Court judge. Canadian police arrested Trauwitz on a Dec. 16 warrant after Mexico’s request under the bilateral extradition treaty, according to Canada’s Department of Justice.
Mexico wants to try Trauwitz for using his position as head of security for state oil company Pemex to facilitate widespread fuel theft from the company’s liquefied gas pipelines. Trauwitz, who was promoted to the rank of brigadier general in 2012, headed Pemex’s security department from 2012 to 2019. Trauwitz was also the bodyguard for ex-president Enrique Pena Nieto.
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, a pipeline exploded in Puebla state and one person was killed in a theft attempt.
Trauwitz is scheduled to apply for bail on Dec. 22 in B.C. Supreme Court. An extradition hearing will be scheduled for a later date. Department of Justice Canada spokesman Ian McLeod cited security reasons for declining to say where Trauwitz is being held.
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.
The proceedings against Trauwitz may be the reason for a Dec. 10, closed-door court hearing before Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes about a mutual legal assistance matter. Holmes asked a court sheriff to leave and ordered the listen-only phone line be deactivated when she agreed to hear a Canadian federal prosecutor’s application.
Holmes was the judge who presided over the extradition proceedings for Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested at Vancouver International Airport in 2018 en route to Mexico. Meng returned to China on Sept. 24, 2021 after she finally admitted to a U.S. judge that she lied about a Huawei subsidiary in Iran.
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