Mexico ex-defence minister Salvador Cienfuegos arrested in US

US Arrests Former Mexican Defence Minister Salvador Cienfuegos Over Undisclosed Charges

US Arrests Former Mexican Defence Minister Salvador Cienfuegos Over Undisclosed Charges

Judging by Ebrard's tweet, the US arrest of Cienfuegos did not appear to be coordinated with Mexican authorities. He is expected to make a court appearance in the near future where USA federal prosecutors will unveil the charges against him.

Cienfuegos, who was defense chief from 2012 until 2018, was reportedly on a trip with his family when he was detained at Los Angeles airport.

Ebrard said the Mexican consulate in Los Angeles would provide Cienfuegos "consular assistance".

Some Mexican officials were privately shocked at the detention of Cienfuegos in Los Angeles airport, worrying it was an unprecedented USA intervention against a symbol of Mexican national security.

Cienfuegos headed the defense ministry under former president Enrique Pena Nieto.

Former Mexican Defense Secretary Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos, right, with former U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at the Pentagon in 2017.

Lopez Obrador quickly incorporated the arrest into his narrative that predecessors had presided over a debilitating increase in corruption in Mexico, which for years has been convulsed by often horrific levels of drug gang violence.

Garcia Luna, who served under ex-President Felipe Calderon and was also an architect of the war on drugs, has pleaded not guilty to drug trafficking charges.

Cienfuegos is accused of alerting cartel leaders to a USA law enforcement investigation into its operations and the use of cooperating witnesses and informants, which resulted in the murder of a member of the cartel that leaders incorrectly believed was assisting USA law enforcement authorities.

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We just passed a guy in a jet pack", the American Airlines pilot told air traffic controllers after the September sighting. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) stated that federal officials are now investigating the matter.

Cienfuegos is 72 years old and has retired from active duty.

"The corruption is just coming to roost, because individuals who were once untouchable are now getting arrested", Vigil said.

Ex-public security minister Genaro Garcia Luna was detained in Texas in December 2019 on charges of taking huge bribes to allow the notorious Sinaloa cartel to ship drugs into the United States, which he denies.

While defence minister, Cienfuegos complained about his troops having to take part in the country's war on drug trafficking, saying the military was not suited for the job.

The arrest of Cienfuegos is a tough blow for Mexico, where the army and navy are some of the few remaining respected public institutions.

Cienfuegos' arrest appears to be the first of a top-ranking Mexican military officer in the ongoing fight against drug cartels.

Current President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has vowed to go after corruption and lawbreaking under past administrations, but he has relied more heavily on the army - and given it more tasks, ranging from building infrastructure projects to distributing medical supplies - than any other president in recent history.

The worst scandal in Cienfuegos' tenure involved the 2014 army killings of suspects in a grain warehouse.

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