MEXICO CITY (AP) — Prosecutors from Mexico City took the extreme and unusual step of getting marines to accompany them across state lines and arrest Uriel Carmona, the attorney general of the neighboring state of Morelos, and spirit him back to the capital.
The scene Friday in Cuernavaca, the capital of Morelos state, was like a soap opera, involving dozens of heavily armed agents, political scandals, a former national soccer star and drug traffickers. One of Carmona’s staff went live on Facebook to film the arrest.
Mexico City prosecutors said Carmona was arrested on charges of obstructing the investigation into the 2022 killing of a Mexico City woman whose body was found dumped just over the state line in Morelos.
But Carmona says he is the victim of a political conspiracy involving former soccer star Cuauhtémoc Blanco, who is currently the governor of Morelos state. Carmona said President Andrés Manuel López Obrador ordered his arrest because Carmona was investigating Blanco’s alleged ties to drug traffickers.
Blanco, a political ally of López Obrador, has denied any links to drug traffickers after a 3-year-old photo surfaced showing him posing with three men identified as local drug gang leaders. Blanco said in 2022 that he did not then know who the men were, and that he assumed they were just soccer fans, with whom he frequently poses in photos.
In an interview with the MVS radio station moments before he was arrested at his home, Carmona claimed he was the victim of political persecution and blamed Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum — now a primary presidential candidate for López Obrador’s Morena party — and the president himself.
“This is a campaign against me to protect Morelos Gov. Cuauhtémoc Blanco, because detectives under my command have opened more than 10 investigations against him for several serious crimes, like his probable ties to organized crime,” Carmona said.
Carmona called his arrest illegal, because an attorney general must first be impeached before being arrested.
The Supreme Court ruled that Carmona could not be arrested without first being impeached, but López Obrador’s office issued a statement in July rejecting the ruling, claiming that it did not apply to charges like obstruction of justice.
Sheinbaum, who resigned as Mexico City mayor to contend for the 2024 ruling-party presidential nomination, rejected Carmona’s accusations, saying “this is not a political issue, this is an issue of justice.”
In 2022, Sheinbaum accused Carmona of intentionally botching an autopsy of Ariadna López, 27, to cover up for her killer. Sheinbaum alleged that Carmona had ties to the suspected killer, though she refused to describe their purported links.
Carmona said at the time that a state forensic exam showed López choked on her own vomit as a result of intoxication. A second autopsy carried out by Mexico City experts found “several lesions caused by blows” on López’s body and listed the cause of death as “multiple traumas.”