During his run from the law, Duarte, once considered a luminary of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, became a quintessential symbol of malfeasance and a huge embarrassment to the party, which has been criticized for its inability to rein in rampant corruption.
Duarte was one of a triumvirate of rogue PRI governors sought by the Mexican authorities.
How quickly Duarte faces charges in Mexico would depend on whether he chooses to fight extradition from Guatemala, said Alberto Elias Beltran, a deputy attorney general responsible for worldwide affairs at the Mexican Attorney General's Office.
'This is a plus for Pena Nieto because it goes against this accusation that he and (Interior Minister) Osorio Chong were really fine with Duarte fleeing, hiding and not knowing anything about him, ' said Meyer. Investigators linked Duarte to multiple properties in the United States, including a $600,000 condominium in Scottsdale.
Duarte, a fugitive from justice suspected of embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars, will be processed for extradition to Mexico. Earlier this year, Interpol issued a notice for his capture. He is accused of running a corruption ring that allegedly pilfered millions of dollars from Veracruz's coffers, and stripped its schools and hospitals of their resources.
In mid-October 2016, Duarte resigned as governor amid allegations of corruption and disappeared.
Veracruz Governor Miguel Angel Yunes Linares, who replaced Duarte, believed the property had been furnished using public funds. A reward of 15 million pesos ($730,000) had been offered for his capture.
His detention comes a week after Tomas Yarrington, the ex-governor of Mexico's Tamaulipas state, was arrested in Italy, also on allegations of organized crime and money laundering. Javier Duarte had been staying at the four-star hotel under a false name for at least two days. Meanwhile, César Duarte Jáquez, former governor of Chihuahua state and along with both others, a member of the Revolution Party (PRI), is wanted on suspicion of corruption.
Duarte became a powerful symbol of alleged corruption during midterm elections a year ago in which the PRI lost several governorships, including Veracruz, that it had held uninterrupted since its founding in 1929.
Drug cartels warred for territory and thousands of people were killed or disappeared into clandestine graves in cases that mostly remain unsolved.
During his roughly six years in office, Duarte's Gulf Coast state also earned the inglorious distinction of becoming "one of the world's most lethal regions for the press", according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.