Mexican Supreme Court official held for links to drug cartel

A Mexican Supreme Court official was arrested and arraigned in federal court for allegedly having links to a drug cartel, said authorities.

Juan Carlos de la Barrera Vite was arrested July 29 in the Pacific port city of Acapulco and arraigned Aug 7 by a federal judge.

The suspect, who is being held at a prison in Matamoros, a border city in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, was a clerk for the high court and worked for Justice Sergio Valls.

The federal Attorney General's Office has charged the court official with working for the Sinaloa drug cartel, which is led by Joaquin "El Chapo" (Shorty) Guzman.

Justice Valls "did not have nor does he have any links to the acts alleged against the said person" and "at no time did sensitive information from the judicial body or its work get compromised", the Supreme Court said.

De la Barrera Vite worked as a clerk in the past, but "he only did administrative work in the personnel area in recent years", the Supreme Court said.

The suspect allegedly handed over confidential information to the Sinaloa cartel, Mexico's most powerful drug trafficking organization, the Mexican press reported Saturday.

De la Barrera Vite took his orders from Felipe Cabrera Sarabia, who was arrested Dec. 23, 2011, in Culiacan, the capital of the northwestern state of Sinaloa, the El Universal newspaper said.

Cabrera Sarabia was allegedly in charge of the Sinaloa cartel's operations in Durango state and the southern part of Chihuahua state, the newspaper said.

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