Nayarit Attorney General In Jail On Various Drugs Related Charges

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Until his at the border on U.S. drug trafficking charges, Edgar Veytia straddled two worlds: suburban San Diego and the small, heavily agricultural Mexican

It was in Nayarit where Veytia rose to the highest echelons of power, becoming a close ally of the governor and holding a number of law enforcement positions before being named the state’s attorney general in 2013. Veytia projected himself as a no-nonsense crime fighter. He survived an armed attack in 2011, and there was even of talk of a gubernatorial run, despite critics who complained of abductions and extortions carried out under his command, and accusations of his ties to drug traffickers.

 As he navigated Mexico’s law enforcement world, Veytia was maintaining ties north of the border. Public records link him to a series of San Diego and addresses since 1987, and he and his wife are listed as the owners and occupants of a five-bedroom, three-bath house in a quiet, well-to-do Chula Vista neighborhood in Otay Ranch, purchased in 2013 for $549,000.

The house is located blocks from Mater Dei, a private Catholic school where his daughter excelled in her studies and played water polo, graduating in 2016. His wife, Olimpia Veytia, owns a Curves gym franchise less than three miles from the family’s residence.

While Mexican political figures for years have quietly established second homes in San Diego, Veytia’s story is different: A dual U.S.-Mexican citizen, he grew up here, and continues to have numerous relatives in the area, public records show.

“We were bi-nationals, basically, growing up on both sides,” said an uncle, Edward Veytia, who lives in San Diego, and said he has not seen his nephew for years. “I don’t remember how he actually made it to Nayarit. All I know is that he met somebody there and married. The family was well-connected.”

A sister, Vanessa Veytia, owns produce and seafood wholesale company, San Carlos Veggies & Sea Food, while Miguel Cambero, described in Mexican media reports as Veytia’s brother-in-law, owns a transportation company, Transportes Refrigerados San Carlos, according to records from the California Secretary of State; both businesses share an address on Airway Road in an industrial area near the Otay Mesa border crossing.

Though born in Tijuana, Veytia acquired U.S. citizenship early on through his mother, and attended elementary, middle and high school in San Diego, said his San Diego-based attorney, Jan Ronis. The attorney did not know which San Diego schools his client attended, but said Veytia graduated from law school in Nayarit, where a registrar’s office employee at the Universidad del Alica in the state capital of Tepic confirmed that Veytia had attended classes from 1992 to 1996.

A few years later in San Diego, Veytia became a student pilot, taking classes from 2010 to 2013 at Brown Field’s First Flight school. In 2011, he obtained a student license from the U.S. .

“He was always energetic,” said a First Flight employee, who asked that his name not be used. “He was always interested in what he did wrong so he could do it right.”

An account published earlier this month in the Mexico City newspaperthat Veytia arrived in Tepic in the 1990s after meeting Cambero, his future brother-in-law, in Tijuana. Veytia started out selling used tools purchased in Tijuana to bus drivers in Nayarit, according to the article, and got his initial foothold in 1999, when his Veytia’s father-in-law gave Veytia’s wife, Olimpia, a permit to operate a bus on a route between the state capital and the city of Compostela, the article stated.

“All I know is that he went to college and ultimately ended up there employed,” said Ronis, his attorney. “The only business I’m aware of right now is his professional life as attorney general of the state of Nayarit.”

But Mexican news organizations have been highlighting reports of his connections to the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación. During Veytia’s tenure as attorney general, Nayarit became the cartel’s den and center of operations, according to a report by the Mexico City newspaper Reforma that cited Mexican military sources.

The independent Mexican new website, Animal Politico, reported this month that Mexican federal prosecutors of Autobuses Coordinados de Nayarit — a company connected to Cambero but with an address linked to another company that had been owned by Veytia and his wife.

Veytia’s sister, Vanessa, declined to be interviewed when reached by phone, and other immediate family members could not be contacted.

Even though they’d lost touch, his uncle Edward Veitia said he worried about his nephew after learning of the 2011 armed attack. “When they sprayed his car and he didn’t get out of there, I knew the outcome was not going to be good,” the uncle said. “He was a good kid and a good young man, so whatever happened over there must have been that circumstance enveloped him, and he didn’t know how to navigate the environment.”

Today, Veytia, sits behind bars at the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he was transferred following his March 27 arrest by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers after he crossed from Tijuana’s A.L. Rodríguez International Airport to San Diego through the Cross-Border Xpress bridge.

A federal grand jury in New York City on March 2 had charged Veytia with conspiring to manufacture, distribute, import and distribute heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana between 2013 and 2017. The indictment states that prosecutors could seize up to $250 million linked to Veytia’s alleged criminal activity. Veytia pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Earlier this week, no one was answering the door of his Chula Vista residence on a sunny weekday afternoon. The street was quiet, save for a trickle of children walking home from school and a new family moving onto the block.

A woman who said she is a frequent visitor at a house next door said she was acquainted with the Veytias, but had little more to say: “They’re just people in the neighborhood.”

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