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'Legally dead' man wins Mexican election

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By The Washington Post
Thursday, July 11, 2013, 9:24 p.m.
 

MEXICO CITY — For a dead man, Lenin Carballido ran a pretty good campaign.

On Sunday, nearly three years after he was officially declared dead, Carballido was narrowly elected mayor of San Agustin Amatengo, a small town in Mexico's Oaxaca state.

Carballido faked his demise in 2010, according to the country's Reforma newspaper, to evade charges stemming from a 2004 sexual assault.

With police on his trail, Carballido “died” and obtained a coroner's certificate in September 2010, affirming he had succumbed to “natural causes” after slipping into a diabetic coma. The charges were dropped.

Carballido's resurrection occurred this year when he ran as a local candidate for Mexico's leftist Democratic Revolutionary Party, beating his opponent on Sunday by a margin of 11 votes, 515 to 504.

Isidoro Yescas, a state election official in Oaxaca, said investigators were seeking to obtain an official copy of Carballido's death certificate, which would leave him unfit for office.

“Even if he's been elected, such proof that he committed a crime would make him ineligible and strip him of his right to serve,” Yescas told Reforma.

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