Former Head of Political Unit and Budgetary Control, Isaac Gamboa Lozano.RR SS
Isaac Gamboa Lozano, a former senior official in Enrique Peña Nieto’s government, had retreated with his family to a luxurious subdivision in Temixco, Morelos state, to spend the first few weeks of confinement imposed by Covid-19. At around 3:00 p.m. on May 21, 2020, four gunmen broke into the home and shot dead Gamboa, his 60-year-old mother, and his three brothers. It took them three minutes. They did not force the locks to enter them and quickly and accurately located the Gamboas among the twenty people – relatives, friends, workers – who were with the victims at the time. Three years after the multiple murders, one of the killers, Jesús Manuel “N”, El Mongoy, a former member of the Navy, was sentenced to 125 years in prison and compensation of 6.7 million pesos, the Morelos prosecutor’s office reported Wednesday.
Isaac Gamboa served as Head of the Treasury Department’s Department of Budgetary Policy and Control throughout Peña Nieto’s government (2012-2018). Gamboa’s boss was Luis Videgaray, secretary of that ministry and a close associate of Peña Nieto. His assassination is part of a complex conspiracy of political corruption and multi-million dollar diversions involving the Peña Nieto Red Circle, the PRI and several governors. Gamboa was targeted by another prosecutor, that of Chihuahua, for his involvement in Operation Safiro, a corruption mechanism through which 250 million pesos were sent from the Treasury Department to the Chihuahuan government, then headed by César Duarte, and from there the tills of the PRI, directed by Manlio Fabio Beltrones, were passed on. The purpose of this machine, which has been replicated in various PRI-ruled states, was to illegally finance election campaigns.
Former Marine Jesús Manuel “N”.RR SS
Gamboa was, no more and no less, the official who authorized millions of dollars in transfers from the Treasury Department to the state governments. His assassination revealed that he and his wife, Bethzabee Brito Álvarez, had laundered a fortune through shell companies. The Ministry of Finance in the administration of Andrés Manuel López Obrador has claimed that the funds came from bribes paid to Gamboa for his willingness to engage in acts of corruption. But authorities also believe Gamboa’s business network could be used by the federal, state, and PRI to launder the very diversion of resources from Operation Safiro.
Since the Gamboa multiple homicide took place in Morelos, that state’s attorney’s office took over the investigation in what they called the Black Widow case. The clearly misogynist name arose from the hypothesis that Isaac Gamboa’s murder was orchestrated by his wife, Bethzabee, who – always according to prosecutors – was having an affair with Gamboa’s bodyguard and wished to keep the illegally amassed fortune. for marriage. The 39-year-old woman, who had two children with Gamboa, was arrested in Mexico City a few weeks after the crime. A Morelos judge linked her to the case and ordered her to be held in a women’s prison pending conviction. Bethzabee has served two and a half years without her responsibility in the murder being found and was even transferred to a maximum security prison. El Mongoy’s three accomplices – including Bethzabee’s alleged lover, also a former Marine – are on the run from justice.
Despite Gamboa’s political biography, Morelos prosecutors have determined that his murder was a simple “crime of passion,” ruling out any further investigation into his involvement in the government’s corruption network during Peña Nieto’s six-year tenure. Javier Corral, ex-governor of Chihuahua – in whose administration Operation Safiro was discovered and investigated – has previously suggested Gamboa’s death meant the loss of a key witness to the Peñismo’s multi-million dollar distractions and whose testimony may have led to the red circle of the earlier President. To date, only a handful of junior officials in César Duarte’s government in Chihuahua have been prosecuted for acts of corruption.
At the federal level, there is an investigative folder initiated by the Attorney General’s Office investigating the money laundering of Gamboa and Bethzabee Brito’s business network. However, the file is separate from the investigation into his murder. That Morelos prosecutors – who have been piling doubts on the probity of their investigations – framed the murder as a “crime of passion” indicates an attempt to put it on hold and another episode of impunity for acts of institutional corruption.
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