Today, I am announcing the public designation of the former governor of the Mexican state of Nayarit, Roberto Sandoval Castañeda, due to his involvement in significant corruption. In May 2019, the Department of the Treasury designated Mr. Sandoval for corruption-related conduct under E.O. 13818, which implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. Specifically, during his tenure as governor of Nayarit (2011-2017), Mr. Sandoval misappropriated state assets and received bribes from narcotics trafficking organizations, including the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), in exchange for information and protection. In addition, Mr. Sandoval accepted bribes from the Beltran Leyva Organization, which President George W. Bush identified as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker pursuant to the Kingpin Act in 2008.
This designation was made under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2020 (Div. G, P.L. 116-94). Under Section 7031(c), once the Secretary of State designates officials of foreign governments for their involvement, directly or indirectly, in significant corruption, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for visas to the United States.
The law also requires the Secretary of State to either publicly or privately designate such officials and their immediate family members. In addition to Mr. Sandoval, the Department is publicly designating his spouse, Ana Lilia Lopez Torres; his daughter, Lidy Alejandra Sandoval Lopez; and his son, Pablo Roberto Sandoval Lopez.
Today’s action sends a strong signal that the United States is committed to fighting systemic corruption in Mexico. The United States stands with the people of Mexico in their fight against corruption. The Department will continue to use these authorities to promote accountability for corrupt actors globally and near our border, particularly when that corruption is connected to drug trafficking.
For more information, please contact INL-PAPD@state.gov.