News Latin America ‘Black Widow Case’: three years without knowing who and why killed Isaac...

‘Black Widow Case’: three years without knowing who and why killed Isaac Gamboa, a collaborator of Luis Videgaray

Isaac Gamboa Lozano.RR SS

Isaac Gamboa Lozano was three years ago in a luxurious rest home in Temixco, State of Morelos, where he went to stay with his family due to the recently started covid pandemic. It was Thursday and they were about to eat by the pool; spring lavished a dreamy sun. Around three in the afternoon, a group of four armed men broke into the house without forcing the locks and murdered Gamboa, his three brothers and his 60-year-old mother in cold blood, in full view of their partners, children and domestic workers. The assassins, who had belonged to the Navy, committed the homicide in less than three minutes. Nothing was stolen. They went to meticulously kill the Gamboas, starting with Isaac, a powerful former official of Enrique Pena Nieto’s Treasury Department who a few years before had participated in the Operation Sapphirea public resource diversion scheme implemented by the Government to finance PRI campaigns.

This Sunday marks the third anniversary of the murder of Gamboa without the true motive for the crime being known. The Morelos Prosecutor’s Office captured Bethzabee “N”, wife of Isaac Gamboa, days after the multi-homicide, accusing her of being the mastermind in collusion with the leader of the murderers, who was her husband’s escort and with whom she allegedly had a sentimental relationship . The woman herself was sent to the Atlacholoaya, Morelos women’s prison, where she has been held ever since, without sentencing. The authorities, who have insisted on framing the motive as a “crime of passion”, baptized her file as the black widow case. The state Prosecutor’s Office has decided not to include Gamboa’s political past as a line of investigation into the murder, particularly his involvement in a corruption case that federal and local authorities had already begun to unravel and for which several lower-ranking officials already they had fallen It was foreseeable that at some point heads of higher levels would begin to roll.

In the six-year term of Pena Nieto, Gamboa was head of the Budgetary Policy and Control Unit of the Ministry of Finance, an area from which he authorized million-dollar transactions of public funds to the States at his discretion. Gamboa’s boss was the secretary Luis Videgaray, an influential collaborator of the then PRI president. In 2016, before the state elections of that year, Gamboa authorized a million-dollar transfer to the Government of Chihuahua headed by Cesar Duarte. Of that money, 250 million pesos were diverted and laundered through shell companies to finally send them to the coffers of the PRI, then led by Manlio Fabio Beltrones. This was documented by the Chihuahua Prosecutor’s Office once the tricolor party lost the elections that year and Javier Corral, from the PAN, came to power. The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) documented that the Operation Sapphire it was replicated in more States and that the amount diverted from the federal Treasury was much higher.

That federal file walks a different path than the homicide folder opened at the local level. The Morelos Prosecutor’s Office supports the hypothesis of a “crime of passion” based on the statement of a distant friend of Gamboa’s bodyguard and testimonies from the survivors of the massacre, who claim that the accused let the murderers into the house in Temixco. To date, only one member of the armed command, Jesus Manuel “N”, the mongoy, who was also a sailor, has been arrested and sentenced to 125 years in prison. The other three murderers are on the run.

Gamboa’s widow’s defense has been erratic. The defendant has changed lawyers four times. This Friday it was planned to resume the trial against her, after three years of postponements caused by the pandemic and, above all, by the dilatory injunctions that her legal representatives have promoted. The new lawyer for Bethzabee “N” appeared at the hearing at the Atlacholoaya Justice Center without the investigation folder, alleging that the Prosecutor’s Office had not provided him with a complete copy. Judge Patricia Aguirre Galvez, impatient, considered that the young lawyer showed he did not have the minimum knowledge and decided to dismiss him as the defendant’s representative, in order to protect her right to an adequate defense. The judge offered to assign Bethzabee a lawyer from the Public Defender’s Office, although she also left open the possibility of hiring another private person. On May 30, the parties must appear again before the trial court.

Former Governor Javier Corral, in whose Administration in Chihuahua the Operation Sapphirehas previously said that the death of Isaac Gamboa meant losing a piece of the greatest importance in the puzzle of complicity that made possible the diversion of resources in the penismo. Because of his privileged position in the federal government; Due to his closeness to Videgaray, Gamboa was a man who knew too much.

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