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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Italian authorities on Sunday captured a fugitive Mexican former governor charged with drug smuggling, bank fraud, racketeering and money laundering, are expected to extradite him to Mexico over the next few days.

Tomas Yarrington, ex-governor of Tamaulipas state, on Mexico's northeastern border with Texas, was accused in 2013 by a federal grand jury in Texas of taking millions of dollars in bribes from the Gulf Cartel and other traffickers.

Mexico's attorney general's office said on Sunday the arrest of Yarrington was made possible by an Interpol red notice, the closest to an international arrest warrant "for the crimes of organised crime and money laundering, among others."

Beginning in 1998, U.S. authorities have said, Yarrington began taking bribes from the Gulf Cartel and other traffickers, when he was mayor of Matamoros on the U.S. border.

Yarrington, who was governor of Tamaulipas between 1999 and 2005, is one of several former politicians in President Enrique Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) accused of corruption. He was suspended from the PRI in 2012.

In a statement, the PRI said it backed the work of the attorney general's office and asked for all the necessary investigations to be carried out.

In March, a Mexican judge issued an arrest warrant for former Chihuahua state governor Cesar Duarte, also a member of Pena Nieto's ruling party, on suspicion of embezzlement.

(Reporting by Liz Diaz; Writing by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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