Ex-defense chief’s arrest hits US-Mexican ties

The United States’s shock arrest before this month of a previous Mexican protection minister on drug trafficking rates has induced a diplomatic row that authorities say could jeopardize the countries’ cooperation in preventing potent cartels.

The indictment of Common Salvador Cienfuegos, a key figure in ex-president Enrique Pena Nieto’s 2012 to 2018 authorities, caught Mexico by surprise.

“Have confidence in and cooperation have been destroyed. All protocols concerning the two international locations have been broken,” Javier Oliva, a specialist in army affairs at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, told AFP.

The Mexican federal government explained Thursday that it had complained to the United States that it was being retained in the dark about Cienfuegos’s circumstance.

“We have created our deep dissatisfaction recognized to the United States that this info has not been shared with our region,” International Minister Marcelo Ebrard instructed reporters.

Cienfuegos was detained at Los Angeles Global Airport on Oct 15 while on a trip with his relatives, and charged with drug trafficking and revenue laundering.

The 72-12 months-old retired basic, nicknamed “The Godfather,” is accused of conspiring to develop and distribute cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and cannabis in the US, in accordance to federal prosecutors in New York.

He allegedly abused his posture “to aid the H-2 Cartel, an particularly violent Mexican drug trafficking firm,” in accordance to documents launched by prosecutors.

 – ‘Resentment’ in Mexico –

The indictment was filed in August 2019, but produced general public only immediately after his arrest, evidently owing to suspicion of corruption amongst significant-rating Mexican officials.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has good relations with his US counterpart Donald Trump, complained that the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) experienced acted powering his again.

Mike Vigil, previous head of intercontinental functions for the DEA, said that due to the fact Cienfuegos no longer retains any formal placement, there was no motive to advise Mexico of his indictment.

But the arrest would have repercussions, he stated.

“In Mexico there is certainly resentment, and quite a few in the US businesses no extended want to share details with people today in the army whom they think about corrupt,” Vigil explained to AFP.

The situation is getting managed by the same courtroom that sentenced drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to life in jail in 2019 and exactly where Mexico’s former general public protection minister Genaro Garcia Luna is being prosecuted.

Garcia Luna was detained in Texas in December 2019 on rates of using enormous bribes to permit the notorious Sinaloa cartel to ship medications into the US, which he denies.

– ‘Brutal interference’ –

At the very least 4 folks who worked with Cienfuegos are however on active responsibility, while Lopez Obrador has sought to reassure the place that he individually chose latest Protection Minister Luis Sandoval.

“Corruption moves through networks, not individuals. There may be many others associated,” claimed Francisco Rivas, head of the Nationwide Citizen Observatory, a civil culture team.

US prosecutors say the evidence in opposition to Cienfuegos incorporates hundreds of Blackberry messages amongst the normal and cartel members intercepted by the authorities.

But some specialists are skeptical.

“How is a standard with a brilliant career likely to give instructions on an open cellphone to a small-profile legal?” Oliva claimed.

The declare of the intercepted messages also fueled longstanding suspicions that US brokers spy on Mexican officials.

“It appears to me a brutal interference by the United States,” Renato Revenue, Mexican National Safety Commissioner amongst 2015 and 2018, explained to the newspaper El Universal.

He attributed what he known as the “unlikely” accusations to rivalry involving US companies ahead of the November 3 presidential election.

Cienfuegos’s arrest has brought on speculation about whether US authorities could use him to go right after even even bigger targets with potentially even greater repercussions for US-Mexican relations.

“Detainees are always questioned to convert around people today previously mentioned them. The only 1 above Cienfuegos was Pena Nieto,” said Vigil.

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