According to documents released by federal prosecutors in New York, a charge lodged over Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda on distributing heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and cannabis in the country between December 2015 and February 2017. The former official, who was Mexico’s defense minister from 2012 to 2018, was arrested by American officials at the demand of the Drug Enforcement Administration and will face drug and money-laundering charges in the United States.
“I have been informed by Ambassador Christopher Landau of the United States that the former Secretary of National Defense, General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, has been detained at the Los Angeles Airport, California,” Marcelo Ebrard said.The allegation against the defense minister remain obscure, Ebrard said Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles would be proclaiming him of the charges “in the next few hours.”He added that they will provide consular aid to the general.
The US authorities are yet to approve Cienfuegos’ imprisonment. Cienfuegos served as defense minister under former President Enrique Pena Nieto between 2012-2018. Some Mexican officials were privately shocked at the detention of Cienfuegos at the Los Angeles airport, worrying it was an unprecedented US intervention against a symbol of Mexican national security.