The “Operation Godfather “As the United States Anti-Drug Agency (DEA) baptized the investigation against Salvador Cienfuegos, former defense minister of Mexico, it has brought down the alleged drug trafficking network of the retired general in the United States.
The one who was Minister of Defense of the former Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018), was accused this Friday of drug trafficking and money laundering, hours after being detained at the Los Angeles International Airport.
The crimes, according to the accusation, would have been committed three years ago, from 2015 to 2017, when Cienfuegos was in charge of the Secretariat of National Defense of Mexico.
The first hearing
The hearing for the presentation of Cienfuegos before the US Justice began at 3:00 p.m. local time (00:00 GMT) and lasted five minutes. In that short time, the former minister confirmed that he had read and understood the four charges he faces, related to the drug trafficking and money laundering.
Cienfuegos will remain internal in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Detention Center at least until the next hearing, which will be held on Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. local time (22:00 GMT).
Three of the charges are related to production, trafficking and distribution of narcotic drugs and a fourth with money laundering, according to a document from the United States Attorney for the eastern district of New York.
The grand jury that was to determine whether there was sufficient evidence to try Salvador Cienfuegos, whose arrest is considered a new blow to the legacy of Peña Nieto, has decided to indict him on four counts.
The “Godfather & rdquor;
The first of the drug trafficking charges is for conspiring for the international production and distribution of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana; the second for conspiring to import narcotics and the third for conspiring to distribute them.
“The accused Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, also known as “The Godfather” and “Zepeda”, along with others, knowingly and intentionally conspired to manufacture and distribute one or more controlled substances, with the intent, knowing, and having reasonable cause to believe that such substances would be illegally imported into the United States from a location outside the United States ” , says the text.
According to court documents, “Operation Godfather” is associated with the judicial process against a former Mexican prosecutor, Édgar Veytia, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison in September last year in the United States. At the time of the events of which he is accused, the former prosecutor was the main representative of the law in the Mexican state of Nayarit.
Your partners in business
According to the US Justice, Veytia helped and instigated the drug traffickers who brought their products to the United States in exchange for bribes.
It is also alleged that he used his position to obstruct investigations and prosecutions of drug traffickers in Mexico, including the illegal release of the accused and blocking the detention of other traffickers.
Now, the US accuses Cienfuegos of having ties with H-2, Juan Francisco Patron Sánchez, lLeader of the Beltrán Leyva cartel.
“Thanks to the defendant’s corrupt assistance, the H-2 cartel carried out its criminal activity without significant interference from the Mexican Army and imported thousands of kilos of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines and marijuana to the United States & rdquor;, said the Prosecutor’s Office in its indictment.
The decomposition of the regime
The letter from the Prosecutor’s Office, signed by the Eastern District of New York, Richard Donoghue, accuses Cienfuegos of being involved in the production, trafficking and distribution of 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, 5 kilos or more of cocaine and 1 kilo of heroin between December 2015 and February 2017.
Before knowing the charges, the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who assumed power with the promise to clean up the corruption of previous governments, assured that the arrest “is an unequivocal sign of the decomposition of the regime.”
At a press conference this Friday, he described the news as “regrettable” and compared it to the arrest last year, also in the United States, of Genaro García Luna, Secretary of Security during the government of Felipe Calderon (2006-2012), for receiving alleged bribes from drug trafficking.
He arrest of García Luna, the police chief who would have protected the Sinaloa Cartel in exchange for bribes, and now that of Cienfuegos, head of the Army, calls into question the security strategy carried out in Mexico for more than a decade.