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Archive photo of the Mexican President Pena Nieto (C) with Defense Secretary (L) General Salvador Cienfuegos during a parade Archive photo of the Mexican President Pena Nieto (C) with Defense Secretary (L) General Salvador Cienfuegos during a parade  (AFP or licensors)

Top former Mexican Minister arrested for drug trafficking and money laundering

A former Mexican Minister of Defense, who led its Army, has been arrested at Los Angeles International Airport, accused of drug trafficking and money laundering. The arrest represents a grievous blow to the neighboring nations who are fighting a multi billion dollar narcotics war, which has claimed more than quarter of a million lives.

By James Blears

Retired General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, was Minister of Defense for the entire Administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto from 2012- 2018.  He was arrested on a warrant from the Drugs Enforcement Agency-the DEA, accused of facilitating tons of shipments of heroin, cocaine, crystal meth and marijuana into the United States, even organizing ships to do this.  Mexico`s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard was told of this by Christopher Landau, who`s the US Ambassador in Mexico.

Cienfuegos aged 72, who`s retired from active service, is nicknamed: "The Godfather." He was presented with an award from the Pentagon two years ago, before his treachery was discovered and now revealed.  It`s alleged he aided and abetted a cartel known as H2, which is an offshoot of the Beltran Levya drug cartel, protecting it and advising it of US operations directed against it. He`s also accused of introducing cartel leaders to other corrupt officials. He now faces four charges of drug trafficking and money laundering.  Former President Pena Nieto denies any knowledge or involvement in  these activities. The General`s communications were intercepted by US Intelligence.  Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, says investigations are underway into possible links to former Security Minister Genero Garcia Luna, who served the 2006-2012 Administration of President Felipe Calderon, as Security Minister. Garcia Luna was arrested last year in Texas, and is on trial in New York accused of accepting millions in bribes from the Sinaloa drug cartel, once led by Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman, who now serving a life sentence in a US maximum security prison. He denies all the charges against him. Calderon denies any knowledge of Garcia Luna`s alleged legion of crimes.

President Lopez Obarador is publically supporting his current Minister of Defense, who was not proposed or nominated by General Cienfuegos.  

It`s an appalling blow to Mexico and the United States, that someone who was supposed to be leading the war against drugs, was allegedly involved in supporting the narcos. The ultimate betrayal.

Listen to the report by James Blears
17 October 2020, 17:55