Former Mexican Defense Secretary Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda was apprehended at Los Angeles International Airport on a Drug Enforcement Administration warrant, 3 U.S. police authorities informed NBC News late Thursday.
The arrest was validated by Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard through Twitter, who stated he was notified of the detention by the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Christopher Landau.
“The Consul in Los Angeles will be informing me of the charges in the next few hours,” composed Ebrard. “I will keep you posted.”
Charges together with the precise information and situations of the arrest have yet to be revealed. DEA authorities did not elaborate on which DEA workplace was dealing with Cienfuegos’ case.
General Cienfuegos, 72, functioned as defense minister from 2012 to 2018 under previous Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and was an effective figure in the nation’s drug war, in which the military fought cartels throughout the nation.
Peña Nieto remained in workplace for 6 years through December 2018. Several members of his cabinet and celebration have actually been linked in top-level corruption cases, in some cases including claims of links to the mob.
Under Cienfuegos, the army was implicated of extrajudicial killings and human rights abuses, consisting of the 2014 Tlatlaya massacre, where 22 drug gang members were performed.
The militaries have actually taken a significantly popular function in battling criminal activity in Mexico, and have actually been seen by some as less vulnerable to corruption than police.
The detention of Cienfuegos begins the heels of the arrest of ex-President Felipe Calderon’s security minister, Genaro Garcia Luna in Texas in 2019.
Luna is on trial in New York on suspicion of accepting countless dollars in kickbacks from Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel, which he was charged with combating.
Elements of the army in the northern state of Sinaloa have actually long been reported to have links to the cartel previously headed by criminal activity kingpin Guzman, who managed much of the controlled substance trade throughout the Western Hemisphere for practically 3 years.
Guzman is now in a U.S. prison after being sentenced to life plus 30 years in July.
The U.S. and Mexican federal governments depicted Guzman’s arrest and conviction as a significant success however experts state his Sinaloa cartel has actually continued to hum along without him in its reign of horror from its base in Culiacan.
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The top-level arrest of Cienfuegos comes less than 3 weeks prior to the U.S. governmental election.
President Donald Trump, looking for a 2nd term, made securing down on cartel activity a significant policy goal when he took workplace in 2017.
The war versus the cartels has actually taken a heavy toll on the Mexican individuals. There have actually been 150,000 murders connected to arranged criminal activity in Mexico considering that 2006, according to a Congressional Research report released this year. Some 73,000 individuals were likewise reported missing out on from 2007 to mid-2020, according to the federal government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Reuters added to this report.
This is a breaking newspaper article, please examine back for updates.