US fees former Mexican minister with drug trafficking | Mexico

US fees former Mexican minister with drug trafficking | Mexico

Mexico’s president has pledged to scrub up the nation’s armed forces after a former defence minister was arrested in the US on drug trafficking and cash laundering fees this week.

Salvador Cienfuegos, who served as Mexico’s defence chief from 2012 to 2018, was arrested at Los Angeles Worldwide Airport on Thursday, taking Mexico’s safety institution unexpectedly, senior federal sources stated.

US authorities didn’t warn their Mexican counterparts of the operation.

In accordance with paperwork launched by US federal prosecutors in New York on Friday, prosecutors accuse Cienfuegos of conspiring to provide and distribute heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and hashish within the US between December 2015 and February 2017.

“In alternate for bribe funds, he permitted the H-2 Cartel – a cartel that routinely engaged in wholesale violence, together with torture and homicide – to function with impunity in Mexico,” the indictment learn.

The prosecution stated the proof towards the retired basic, nicknamed “The Godfather”, included 1000’s of Blackberry messages between Cienfuegos and cartel members that have been intercepted by the authorities.

Beneath Lopez Obrador, the armed forces have taken on extra accountability, together with establishing a militarised nationwide police pressure [File: Henry Romero/Reuters]

“It is rather regrettable {that a} defence secretary is arrested, accused of hyperlinks with drug trafficking,” Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador stated at his every day information convention on Friday.

“We’re going through an unprecedented state of affairs,” Lopez Obrador added, noting that two former Mexican ministers are actually detained within the US on allegations of hyperlinks to drug cartels.

“After all, all this should be confirmed,” he stated.

Lopez Obrador, who got here to energy in 2018 promising to crack down on corruption, added that the arrests are a transparent indication that Mexico was beforehand run by “a narco-government and doubtless a mafia authorities”.

Mexico’s former public safety minister from 2006 to 2012, Genaro Garcia Luna, was detained in Texas in December 2019 on fees of taking large bribes to permit the infamous Sinaloa Cartel ship medication into the US, which he denies.

The most recent arrest could lead on US authorities to pursue much more distinguished targets, stated Mike Vigil, former head of worldwide operations for the US Drug Enforcement Company (DEA).

Drug battle

There had been no open investigation into Cienfuegos in Mexico and his arrest was linked to the case towards Garcia Luna, stated Lopez Obrador.

Garcia Luna is on trial in New York after being charged with accepting thousands and thousands of {dollars} in bribes from captured kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s Sinaloa Cartel, which he was meant to battle.

Like Garcia Luna, Cienfuegos had been a serious determine in Mexico’s so-called drug battle, which has claimed a whole lot of 1000’s of lives over the previous 20 years.

Beneath Cienfuegos, the military was accused of extrajudicial killings, together with the June 2014 Tlatlaya bloodbath in central Mexico, the place 22 drug gang members have been shot useless.

Mexico’s former public safety minister, Genaro Garcia Luna, is on trial in New York on separate corruption fees [File: Tomas Bravo/Reuters]

Cienfuegos’s case is the primary time a former defence minister has been arrested and could have far-reaching implications.

Lopez Obrador pledged to droop anybody in his authorities who could also be implicated within the fees.

“We gained’t cowl up for anyone,” he stated, including that his authorities is “cleansing up, purifying public life”.

Beneath Lopez Obrador, the armed forces have taken on extra accountability, together with establishing a militarised nationwide police pressure, overseeing port safety and dealing on infrastructure initiatives.

Some Mexican officers have been privately shocked on the detention of Cienfuegos on the Los Angeles airport, worrying it was an unprecedented US intervention towards an emblem of Mexican nationwide safety.

“It was completely sudden. I by no means noticed this coming, by no means, by no means,” stated a senior police supply.

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