Mexico’s ex-defense minister detained in the U.S. at the request of DEA

Mexico’s ex-defense minister detained in the U.S. at the request of DEA

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Mexican General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda speaks during an an official reception with Canada’s Defense Minister Rob Nicholson and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on April 24, 2014 in Mexico City, Mexico.

Shannon-Stapleton Pool | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The defense minister for Mexican ex-president Enrique Pena Nieto, General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, was detained at Los Angeles airport on Thursday on a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) warrant, a DEA spokeswoman told Reuters.

As defense minister General Salvador Cienfuegos was a powerful figure in Mexico’s drug war in which the army battled cartels across the country.

Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Twitter that he was informed of the detention of Cienfuegos by the U.S. ambassador to Mexico.

“The Consul in Los Angeles will be informing 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,” said Ebrard.

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

DEA spokeswoman in Los Angeles, Nicole Nishida, said she had no further details about the nature of the warrant, the circumstances of the arrest, whether he was coming or going at the Los Angeles airport, or anything about family or others who may have been traveling with him.

Cienfuegos, 72, held the rank of a four star Army general and was Pena Nieto’s defense minister until the end of the president’s term.

“This detention is going to have a powerful impact in Mexico,” said military affairs analyst Raul Benitez.

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

Multiple members of Pena Nieto’s cabinet and party have been implicated in high-level corruption cases, sometimes involving allegations of links to organized crime.

Cienfuegos’ detention comes on the heels of the arrest of ex-President Felipe Calderon’s security minister, Genaro Garcia Luna. Garcia Luna was arrested in Texas last year on suspicion of accepting millions of dollars in bribes from a major drug cartel he was tasked with combating.

20200221101654 Mexico's ex-defense minister detained in the U.S. at the request of DEA
Original news source Credit: www.cnbc.com



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