The indictment, which was handed up by a grand jury in Brownsville in May, accuses Tomas Yarrington Ruvalcaba, 56, a former governor of Tamaulipas state, and Fernando Alejandro Cano Martinez, 57, the owner of a Mexican construction firm, with conspiring to violate the provisions of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization statute.
They also are charged with conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to make false statements to federally insured U.S. banks.
Separately, Yarrington is also charged with conspiring to violate provisions of the Controlled Substances Act, two substantive bank fraud charges and conspiring to structure currency transactions at a domestic financial institution.
Cano is separately charged with three counts of bank fraud.
Yarrington, who was governor of Tamaulipas from 1999 to 2004, allegedly took large bribes from major drug traffickers operating in Tamaulipas state, including the Gulf Cartel, in return for letting them operate freely.
Prosecutors allege that from 2007 to 2009 Yarrington took part in the smuggling of large amounts of cocaine through the Port of Veracruz into the United States.
He also allegedly collected bribes from commercial operations in Mexico. Cano allegedly paid bribes to Yarrington to grease the skids for real estate deals.