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Fugitive drug lord or schoolteacher?

December 8, 2010 |  5:55 pm


It turns out that one of Mexico's most-wanted fugitive drug lords is also a schoolteacher who has been on the government payroll for years. That is what one of Mexico's leading dailies, El Universal, is reporting (link in Spanish), citing none other than the website of the Mexican Education Ministry.

Servando "La Tuta" Gomez is sought by Mexican security officials who say he is a top commander of the violent drug cartel La Familia, based in the western state of Michoacan. He's been on the lam for several years, and there's a $2-million bounty on his head. All the while, however, he's been collecting a paycheck from the government's education office, to the tune of about $4,000 in the first part of this year, El Universal reported.

Does this help explain why Mexico's education system fares so poorly in global quality rankings? Asked about La Tuta's appearance on the payroll, Education Minister Alonso Lujambio (mentioned occasionally as a potential presidential candidate) said (link in Spanish) it wasn't his job to search teachers' background, shifting the responsibility to local authorities.

 -- Tracy Wilkinson in Mexico City