Who is “Nico”, AMLO’s driver to whom the Sinaloa Cartel would have given 2 million dollars for his campaign in 2006

Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his inseparable driver and logistics coordinator, Nicolás Mollinedo. PHOTO: Moisés Pablo/CUARTOSCURO.COM

A research published by Propublica has revealed that Sinaloa Cartel operators injected at least $2 million into Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s campaign in 2006, seeking favors for their criminal operations in case the Tabasco native won. Although it could not be demonstrated that AMLO was aware of these contributions, it is evident that Nicolás Mollinedo Bastar, A person close to the current head of the Executive was involved.

“Nico” – as he is known by those who are part of the inner circle of the leader of the Fourth Transformation – became famous at the time because he was the driver of the iconic tsuru in which the president traveled until a few years ago.

However, some journalists such as Carlos Loret de Mola have pointed out that being the AMLO’s driver It was only a facade that made it easier for him to play his true role: one in which he always sought to benefit the Tabasco president.

According to Tim Golden’s investigation, when Roberto López Nájera, a lawyer who had represented Édgar Valdez Villarreal, alias “La Barbie”was arrested by DEA agents, he provided a detailed account of the cash donations from drug traffickers, which he said he helped deliver.

MEXICO, DF APRIL 14, 2005.- Nicolás Mollinedo Bastar listens to López Obrador during the conference he gave to the media in a park near his house. PHOTO: Nelly Salas/CUARTOSCURO.COM

According to the story, Nicolás Mollinedo Bastar had a significant role in the negotiation with drug traffickers, among them Édgar Valdez Villarreal, alias “La Barbie.” The publication mentions that “Nico” was involved in receiving monetary donations for the campaign, equivalent to 2 million dollars.

Nájera covertly recorded conversations with Nicolás Mollinedo Bastar where he discussed his participation in the scheme, however, some authorities considered that the evidence was not solid enough to justify the risks of an extensive undercover operation in Mexico and the issue was abandoned.

The investigation did not establish whether AMLO approved or even knew about the donations reported by drug traffickers, however, it is not the first time that Nicolás Mollinedo’s name has come up when talking about corruption.

Nicolás Mollinedo Bastar served for 12 years as the right-hand man of the Morenista leader. During the 2006 and 2012 presidential campaigns he was head of logistics.

According to information that has been documented for many years, one of the biggest scandals that Mollinedo has been involved in is that at the time it was revealed that this character received a salary of 63 thousand pesos per month, which was a stain on the administration of AMLO when he served as jHead of Government of Mexico Citybecause his friend was paid like a undersecretary.

SAN CRISTÓBAL DE LAS CASAS, CHIAPAS, APRIL 4, 2012.- Nicolás Mollinedo Bastar, driver of the Mexican leftist candidate for the presidency of the Republic, during a rally on the municipal esplanade on the fifth day of the campaign. PHOTO: IVÁN STEPHENS /CUARTOSCURO.COM

But the stoy did not end there. After driving AMLO’s car, which at that time was a white Tsuru, in 2015 Mollinedo got a position as director of Solid Waste Collection and Treatment in the then Cuauhtémoc delegation, when Ricardo Monreal was a delegate.

In 2021, Mollinedo formally entered politics with the movement More for Mexicowhich he sought to integrate as a political party.

Currently, “Nico” defines himself as a businessman, a lover of charrería, horses, classic and sports cars, as well as a great baseball fan, “always following the latest results and statistics of the LMB (Mexican Baseball League). )”, it is stated on his website, where he has a biography.

“Nico” continues to be a faithful defender of the Fourth Transformation and his son, Samuel Mollinedo, is a councilor in the city council of Benito Juárez, Quintana Roo.

Another character close to “Nico” is Rafael Fernando Marín Mollinedo, his cousin, who currently serves as Mexico’s permanent representative to the World Trade Organization (WTO), who was proposed to the position personally by AMLO.

Businesses of the children of Nicolás Mollinedo Bastar will benefit from the Mayan Train. (Government of Mexico)

A few months ago LatinUs explained how the family of Mollinedo Bastar benefited significantly after the announcement of the project of the Mayan Train in October 2018.

Nicolás, Samuel and Isaac, sons of the former presidential driver, have acquired 64 hectares in Quintana Roo, positioning themselves as important landowners in an area that today is of great value due to its proximity to the Tulum station, a nerve center of the aforementioned railway project.

These lands, which currently house the Sac Actun tourist park, in front of the Tulum station, promise to transform into an outstanding tourist destination integrating cenotes, food areas and various services for visitors, including diving activities. The administration of the park is in charge of Preservación Ecológica Sac Actun SA de CV, a company linked to Lydia Esther Portilla Mánica, ex-wife of Nicolás, and Jorge Alberto Portilla Mánica, who serves as general secretary of the Tulum City Council.

The acquisition of the land by the family was made through a donation by César Augusto Mánica Portilla, uncle of the beneficiaries, a few months after the official announcement about the construction of the Mayan Train. With the impetus of this megaproject, tourism in the region is expected to experience significant growth, going from two million to more than five million tourists per year once the work is completed. This perspective fuels expectations of a considerable appreciation of properties in the area, including the property in question, whose current value amounts to four million pesos, but which is anticipated to increase exponentially.

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