News from the world – United States – US arrests ex-Mexican Defense Minister under DEA warrant


LOS ANGELES / MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – S authorities on Thursday arrested ex-Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s Defense Minister at Los Angeles Airport on a US Mandate from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), DEA spokesperson told Reuters

As Minister of Defense, General Salvador Cienfuegos was a powerful figure in the war on drugs in Mexico, in which the military fought cartels across the country Several former senior Mexican officials in the « war on drugs » have been implicated in the manufacture of narcotics

High-level arrest comes less than three weeks before US presidential election President Donald Trump, seeking a second term, has made cracking down on cartel activity a major political goal, but with little major progress since taking office in 2017

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Twitter that he had been informed of the detention of Cienfuegos by the US Ambassador to Mexico

« Los Angeles consul will inform me of the charges in the next few hours We will offer the consular assistance to which he is entitled I will keep you posted, » Ebrard said

A Mexican diplomatic source said members of Cienfuegos’ family, traveling with him at the time of his detention, had already been released

The DEA spokeswoman told Reuters she did not have further details on the circumstances of the arrest, whether Cienfuegos was coming or going to the Los Angeles airport, or whether his family or others traveled with him

« This detention will have a powerful impact in Mexico, » said Raul Benitez, military affairs analyst

Pena Nieto was in office for six years until December 2018 Several members of his cabinet and his party have been implicated in high level corruption cases, sometimes involving allegations of links to organized crime

Under Cienfuegos, the army has been accused of extrajudicial killings, including the Tlatlaya massacre in 2014, where 22 drug gang members were executed

Arrest warrants were issued in Mexico last month for soldiers in connection with the kidnapping and alleged massacre of 43 students that same year in a town known for its heroin trafficking

The armed forces play an increasingly important role in the fight against crime in Mexico and are generally seen as less prone to corruption than the civilian police forces

Elements of the army in the state of Sinaloa, in the north of the country, have long been linked to the cartel formerly led by Joaquin « El Chapo » Guzman, now in US prison

Cienfuegos’ detention follows the arrest of the former Security Minister of former President Felipe Calderon, Genaro Garcia Luna

Garcia Luna is on trial in New York for accepting millions of dollars in bribes from the Guzman cartel in Sinaloa, which he was tasked with fighting

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador accuses his predecessors of rampant corruption He has relied heavily on the armed forces in his efforts to end cartel violence in the country, which has seen nearly 35,000 murders in the year last

Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles and Frank Jack Daniel, Anthony Esposito and Diego Ore in Mexico; Additional reports by Lizbeth Diaz; Edited by Michael Perry

All quotes have been delayed by at least 15 minutes See here for a full list of exchanges and delays

Mexico, Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, Enrique Peña Nieto, Minister of Defense, Marcelo Ebrard, US Secretary of Defense

News from the world – US – US arrests ex-minister Mexican Defense Officer under DEA warrant


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