MEXICO CITY — A judge has ordered Mexico's most powerful union leader to stand trial on charges of embezzling 2 billion pesos (about $160 million) from the teachers' union she led for about a quarter-century.
The federal Judiciary Council says Elba Esther Gordillo and three co-defendants will stand trial for embezzlement and organized crime.
Gordillo was arrested last week. The Monday ruling means the judge found prosecutors presented sufficient evidence to justify a trial.
Prosecutors say she illegally used union funds to pay for purchases at Neiman Marcus department stores, U.S. plastic surgery bills and a home near San Diego.
The charges of her lavish lifestyle rankled sensibilities in a country where teachers are poorly paid and schools chronically underperform.
If found guilty, the 68-year-old Gordillo could face 30 years in prison.