Mexico Votes to Arrest Fugitive Lawmaker

Suspected drug cartel associate had just waltzed into office
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2010 2:30 PM CST
Mexican congressmen vote to rescind the congressional immunity from prosecution of congressman Cesar Godoy Toscano, Tuesday, Dec 14, 2010.   (AP Photo/Miguel Tovar)

(Newser) – For months, no one could find Julio César Godoy, a fugitive allegedly linked to a ruthless Mexican drug cartel. Until one day Mr. Godoy waltzed into Mexico’s legislature—and took his oath of office. Authorities were furious. Godoy was elected in 2009, but had been on the run, the New York Times reports. But as a sworn-in lawmaker he was immune to prosecution. Or was until yesterday, when lawmakers voted overwhelmingly—the tally was 382-2—to take away his Get Out of Jail Free card.

Godoy didn’t stick around for the vote though, and now is once again missing. This incident has been an embarrassment for Mexico. Though it’s not unusual for lawmakers to have drug ties, rarely has anyone so brazenly flouted the law. “It undermined the seriousness of the Chamber of Deputies and the rule of law that he could just show up and take the oath,” says one professor. “The natural reaction was, ‘What is going on here?’”

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