Julio César Godoy Toscano
|Julio César Godoy Toscano|
Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán, Mexico
|Known for||Party of the Democratic Revolution politician and former legislator.
Charged with links to organized crime (fugitive).
Julio César Godoy Toscano (born in Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán in 1965) is a Mexican businessman, politician and a former member of the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). He is half-brother of Leonel Godoy Rangel, former governor of the state of Michoacán. Godoy has served as Mayor of the Lázaro Cárdenas municipality and was elected in 2009 to the Chamber of Deputies, the Mexican lower house of parliament, however, before being sworn in he was accused with ties with organized crime and money laundering. He evaded a 2009 arrest warrant by sneaking into his own swearing-in ceremony in order to obtain parliamentary immunity. Godoy was later disavowed by the party and stripped of his office when an audio recording was released of him apparently speaking with La Familia drug cartel leader. He remains a fugitive.
Godoy Toscano was charged in July 2009 with ties with La Familia, a religious cult-like drug cartel based in Michoacán state that smuggle methamphetamine and marijuana to the U.S. The Federal Police alleged that Godoy Toscano was in charge of ensuring official protection for La Familia drug cartel. Godoy avoided arrest and he remained a fugitive for 15 months.
Immunity from prosecution
In a bizarre legal development that took place on September 23, 2010, he evaded police checkpoints installed to prevent his entry to the Chamber of Deputies after a judge granted him an injunction, allowing him to be sworn in despite the 2009 arrest warrant and acquired parliamentary immunity (Spanish: fuero), as all Mexican elected officials do while in office. A spokesman for the Mexican Attorney General's Office said the injunction was granted because the judge felt Godoy's political rights had been violated by not letting him take his oath of office, and had nothing to do with the actual criminal case. However, the arrest warrant against Godoy Toscano is still valid.
His position as a deputy gave him immunity, but the federal Attorney General's Office pressured legislators for his impeachment. One of the reasons the immunity exists is to shield sitting legislators from judicial harassment by opposition parties. It can be taken away only with a majority vote by legislators – the situation in which Godoy found himself.
On October 14, 2010 the Federal Police "leaked" to the media one of several audio recordings of a conversation between Godoy and drug lord Servando Gómez Martínez. In the conversation – reportedly dating from July 12, 2009 – mutual favors and recommendations are shared between the two. In the conversation, drug lord Gómez Martínez asks Godoy to get the governor to intercede at the federal level "so the police will stop interferring". Five days after the leak of this recording, on October 19, Godoy resigned to his affiliation to the PRD in order to "reduce the negative exposure" to his political party, while his peers at the PRD demand he faces the criminal charges, whether impeached or not. On October 2010 he had an additional charge for money laundering, and of having received 25 million pesos (about $2 million USD) from drug lord Servando Gómez Martínez.
On 14 December 2010, his fellow legislators impeached Godoy and revoked his immunity after voting 384-2, with 21 abstentions, though he could resume his legislative duties if exonerated of the charges. His replacement is Israel Madrigal Ceja.
Godoy is a fugitive again and is currently charged by the Attorney General of Mexico with ties with organized crime and money laundering, and he is expected to defend his own case in court if/when arrested. Mexico's attorney general said on December 17, 2010 that he was calling on Interpol to help authorities capture Godoy.
- "Presenta la PGR nueva solicitud de desafuero contra Julio César Godoy". Excelsior (in Spanish). October 12, 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-12.
- "2 Mexican politicians sought; drug cartel link alleged". CNN News. July 15, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-14.
- "Wanted Politician Enters Mexico Congress". The Wall Stree Journal. September 23, 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-24.
- "Recorded conversation between alleged drug lord and Mexican legislator released". BNO News. October 14, 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-23.
- Mexico: Legislator Resigns To Protect Governor. Stratfor - Global intelligence (October 19, 2010)
- Exige Encinas a Godoy que dé la cara para aclarar su caso. October 16, 2010 (in Spanish).
- Exige PRD a Godoy Toscano dar la cara (October 17, 2010)
- "Mexican lawmaker to face drug charges". News 24. 15 December 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-15.
- "Godoy Toscano, desaforado". Proceso (in Spanish). December 14, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-15.
- "Mexican Congress strips member of immunity over drug allegations". Fox News. 15 December 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-15.
- "Mexico enlists Interpol to help catch lawmaker allegedly linked to drug cartel". The Washington Post. December 17, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-18.