• AMPlus Issue7

Former Mexican Minister arrested for drug trafficking

Preethi Padaki

19th October 2020

A former Mexican defence minister got arrested on accounts of drug trafficking and money laundering while holding public office, US prosecutors say. Gen Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda was caught at the Los Angeles air terminal on Thursday.

President López Obrador has confirmed that Gen Cienfuegos is accused of drug trafficking (Source: BBC)

Prosecutors alleged that Cienfuegos, a surrendered general known as ‘The Godfather’, helped the H-2 Cartel."As an end-result of pay off portions, he permitted the H-2 Cartel - a cartel that routinely busy with rebate severity, including torture and murder - to work without danger of discipline in Mexico," analysts attested in a court file conveyed on Friday. Examiners state they have verification of correspondences between Gen Cienfuegos and a senior top of the H-2 Cartel.

Examiners have referenced that Mr Cienfuegos be kept in detention until his starter, battling the general poses ‘a risk of flight’. If convicted, the past security priest could face a jail term of ten years or more, prosecutors state. Earlier, the Mexican government insisted to the BBC that Gen Cienfuegos got caught on a US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) warrant. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the catch "serves to speak to the fact that the essential issue in Mexico is corruption."

Gen Cienfuegos, 72, served as a minister from 2012 to 2018 under President Enrique Peña Nieto as the most senior individual from the military. His position meant that he had an active part to play in Mexico's war on drugs.

Nevertheless, there were charges of complicity between the state and the country's unimaginable prescription cartels all through Mr Peña Nieto's organization, reports BBC Mexico writer Will Grant. This year, one of the former president's advisers was extradited for corruption. Emilio Lozoya, the past chief of Mexican state oil association Pemex, is accused of taking $10m (₹73 crores) in adjustments from a Brazilian construction firm paid off Latin American government figures. However, he has denied these allegations.

Gen Cienfuegos is not the only Mexican minister to have been caught. Last December, former Security Minister Genaro García Luna was blamed for tolerating a drug cartel's pay-off. Mr García Luna, who was Mexico's top security supervisor from 2006 to 2012, is currently being examined in New York, accused of allowing the Sinaloa cartel of ‘El Chapo’ Guzman to work in Mexico as a by-product of a considerable number of dollars.

(Sources: Urdu Point, BBC, RTE)

Edited by: Ritish

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