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Mexico’s top executives helped smuggle drugs into the United States – Colorado Springs, Colorado

Colorado Springs, Colorado 2020-10-17 16:55:25 –

Los Angeles (AP) — Former Mexican Secretary of Defense helped the cartel smuggle thousands of kilograms of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana into the United States in exchange for bribes, according to a court document opened Friday. ..

General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, 72, acted on behalf of the H-2 cartel, and from 2012 to 2018, the Secretary of Defense acted under former President Enrique Penaniet, officials said.

Thousands of BlackBerry messages intercepted indicate that no military operations were conducted against the cartel and that operations were initiated against rivals, according to prosecutors. Cienfuegos is alleged to have introduced cartel leaders to other corrupt Mexican authorities.

Cienfuegos, also known as “El Padrino” or “The Godfather,” according to the complaint, warned cartel leaders about an investigation by US law enforcement agencies regarding the use of witnesses and informants to cooperate with their activities. A member of the cartel who falsely believed that the leader who caused the murder was supporting US law enforcement authorities.

The intercepted communication between Cienfuegos and the senior cartel leader is identified by the general’s historical support for another drug trafficking organization, and by the name, title, and photo of the defendant as a Mexican government employee supporting the H-2 cartel. Authorities said they had discussed communications.

Mexican authorities have not identified the drug cartel led by Juan Francisco Patron Sanchez as H-2, according to US authorities. Instead, Mexican officials claimed that Patron Sanchez was the regional leader in the Beltran-Leyva drug cartel. He was killed in a gun battle with the Mexican Marine Corps in 2017.

U.S. officials said in a court document that the cartel had numerous distribution cells in the United States when Cienfuegos led Mexican troops, including Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Ohio, Minnesota, North Carolina, and New York.

In Mexico, cartels trafficked hundreds of guns and “protected from challenges from rival drug trafficking organizations, contended for territory, and silenced those who cooperated with law enforcement agencies, including torture and murder. He has committed unbelievably horrific acts of violence. ” .. “

Cienfuegos first appeared on Friday in a video from a Los Angeles detention center wearing a dark jacket and face mask. He had an interpreter, but he answered “yes” and “yes, your honor” in English to the procedural question of Judge Alexander McKinnon of the US District Court.

The judge ordered Cienfuegos to be held without bail until a hearing was held in Los Angeles on Tuesday. His attorney, Duane Lyons, appeared in the video and did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Cienfuegos was charged with a conspiracy to participate in the international distribution and money laundering of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana on August 14, 2019, by a grand jury in the eastern district of New York. If convicted of conspiracy, he may face at least 10 years in prison.

Federal prosecutors have called for Cienfuegos to refuse bail as a major flight risk. They state that he last visited the United States in March 2019, and if he was captured in Mexico, delivery to the United States could take years.

“Although there are extradition treaties in the United States and Mexico, it is very difficult to arrest a defendant in Mexico if the H-2 cartel and strong former government officials protect the defendant,” said Seth Ducharm. York, Deputy Attorney for the New District of the East, wrote the court.

The Drug Enforcement Administration, which issued the arrest warrant, declined to comment.

Cienfuegos was expected to move to New York, where his case is being processed. He was arrested Thursday when he arrived at Los Angeles International Airport.

A senior Mexican official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to elaborate on the case said Cienfuegos was arrested with his released family and taken to a metropolitan detention center.

Cienfuegos is the highest-ranking former cabinet bureaucrat arrested since Mexico’s Supreme Security Officer Jenna Rogal Sialna was detained in Texas in 2019.

The arrest of Cienfuegos is a devastating blow to Mexico, which is part of the few respected public institutions in which the Army and Navy remain.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the current president of Mexico, has vowed to pursue corruption and law violations under past administrations, but he relies heavily on the military and from building infrastructure projects to medicines. It has more missions than any other army, up to distribution. President in recent history.

Lopez Obrador called on Friday to reassure the country that he still trusts the military as a “pillar of the Mexican state.” He has invested more responsibility in military leaders than any president in recent history. He said the arrest was unfortunate, but it gave him the opportunity to repeat his refusal that corruption was at the root of Mexico’s most serious problems.

Lopez Obrador draws a bold line between the decline of public institutions under his predecessor and the transformation he says he is undertaking. But for many Mexicans, the military has long been seen as the last defense against cartels, raising the question of who can now be trusted. The Mexican Defense Ministry did not comment on the arrest.

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