Lawmakers voted 382-2 to let federal prosecutors move forward with a criminal case against Julio Cesar Godoy, a representative from the state of Michoacan accused of laundering money for the notorious La Familia cartel.
"It is our judgment that there is enough evidence to support the accusations by the attorney general's office," Cesar Augusto Santiago, who headed the congressional investigation into Godoy's case, said Tuesday, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Godoy, 45, didn't stick around for the final tally. The member of the liberal Democratic Revolution Party, or PRD, has fled -- again.
Godoy first went into hiding in July 2009, when he was charged with drug-related offenses and disappeared days before his election. Finally, he emerged this September, when he brazenly walked into Congress while a warrant was out for his arrest.
Godoy thought that by being sworn in as a member of Congress, he would be assured of immunity from prosecution. In Mexico, sitting lawmakers cannot be prosecuted for crimes as a guard against politically based prosecution.
Before the vote Tuesday, Godoy's attorney read a statement from the politician declaring his innocence and calling himself a victim of "unjust persecution" and "abuse of power," according to the Mexican newspaper El Universal. Godoy said he was being targeted as a member of the opposition party.
Tuesday's vote was a major victory for Mexican President Felipe Calderon, whose yearslong war against the cartels -- both in the streets and in the courts where he has battled corruption -- is struggling to gain traction.
But the vote to remove Godoy's immunity was not even close, and some PRD politicians said they had to send a message about accountability.
"This matter must be resolved strictly according to the law," Alejandro Encinas, a congressman and PRD leader, said Tuesday before Congress. "I want to make it clear that we are completely disconnected from any criminal activity and organized crime," Encinas told Bloomberg. "The country needs transparency and coherence from those who are in public office."
Federal prosecutors have accused Godoy of serving as an informant and consultant to La Familia, one of the country's brutal drug cartels. Tapes have emerged in recent weeks of an alleged conversation between Godoy and Servando Gomez, a leader of La Familia.
Godoy's half brother, Leonel Godoy Rangel, is the governor of Michoacan and insisted that he was not connected to his brother's alleged crimes. "It would not be the first time in history that two brothers were in different trenches," he told reporters.