U.S. detains Mexico’s ex-defense minister on DEA warrant

U.S authorities detained the protection minister for Mexican ex-president Enrique Pena Nieto at Los Angeles airport on Thursday on a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) warrant, a DEA spokeswoman advised Reuters.

As protection minister Common Salvador Cienfuegos was a strong determine in Mexico’s drug warfare wherein the military battled cartels throughout the nation. A number of of Mexico’s former top-ranking ‘drug warfare’ officers have been implicated in narcotics.

The high-level arrest comes lower than three weeks earlier than the U.S. presidential election. President Donald Trump, searching for a second time period, has made clamping down on cartel exercise a significant coverage goal, although with little main progress since he took workplace in 2017.

Mexico’s International Minister Marcelo Ebrard mentioned on Twitter that he was knowledgeable of the detention of Cienfuegos by the U.S. ambassador to Mexico.

“The Consul in Los Angeles might be informing me of the fees within the subsequent few hours. We’ll supply the consular help to which he’s entitled. I’ll maintain you posted,” mentioned Ebrard.

A Mexican diplomatic supply mentioned members of Cienfuegos’ household, touring with him on the time of the detention, have already been launched.

The DEA spokeswoman advised Reuters she didn’t have additional particulars on the circumstances of the arrest, whether or not Cienfuegos was coming or going on the Los Angeles airport, or whether or not household or others have been touring with him.

The protection ministry didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

“This detention goes to have a strong impression in Mexico,” mentioned navy affairs analyst Raul Benitez.

Cienfuegos was Pena Nieto’s protection minister till the top of the president’s time period.

Pena Nieto was in workplace for six years via December 2018. A number of members of his cupboard and occasion have been implicated in high-level corruption circumstances, typically involving allegations of hyperlinks to organized crime.

Underneath Cienfuegos the military was accused of extrajudicial killings, together with the 2014 Tlatlaya bloodbath, the place 22 drug gang members have been executed.

Arrest warrants have been issued in Mexico final month for troopers in reference to the kidnapping and presumed bloodbath of 43 college students the identical 12 months in a city identified for heroin trafficking.

The armed forces have taken an more and more outstanding position in preventing crime in Mexico, and customarily are perceived as much less liable to corruption than civilian police forces.

Parts of the Military within the northern state of Sinaloa have lengthy been rumored to have had hyperlinks to the cartel previously headed by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, now in a U.S. jail.

The detention of Cienfuegos comes on the heels of the arrest of ex-President Felipe Calderon’s safety minister, Genaro Garcia Luna.

Garcia Luna is on trial in New York on suspicion of accepting thousands and thousands of {dollars} in bribes from Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel, which he was tasked with combating.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador accuses his predecessors of rampant corruption. He has leant closely on the armed forces in his efforts to finish cartel violence within the nation, which noticed almost 35,000 killings final 12 months.

Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles and Frank Jack Daniel, Anthony Esposito and Diego Ore in Mexico Metropolis; Extra reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; Modifying by Michael Perry

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