The United States Department of Justice has confirmed that he will not press charges against former Defense Minister of Mexico Salvador Cienfuegos, accused of drug trafficking, so that it can be tried in the Latin American country.
Through a joint communication with the Mexican Prosecutor’s Office, the United States Attorney General Williamn Barr, has explained that Washington has preferred not to request “criminal charges” against Cienfuegos “in recognition of the strong police association“between both countries.
“In the interest of demonstrating our united front against all forms of criminality, the United States Department of Justice has made the decision to dismiss criminal charges against him. former minister Cienfuegos, to be investigated and, where appropriate, charged, in accordance with Mexican law, “the statement said.
The text also notes that the Mexican prosecutor’s office He “opened his own investigation” after “learning of the arrest” and of the drug trafficking and money laundering charges that the United States planned to file against General Cienfuegos
“Our two countries remain committed to cooperation on this matter, as well as to all of our bilateral law enforcement cooperation,” says the Justice Department, which has already provided the evidence of the case “at the request of the Mexican Prosecutor’s Office.” “We are stronger when we work together and respect the sovereignty of our nations and their institutions. This close association increases the security of the citizens of our two countries.” concludes the statement.
“An act of respect”
For his part, at a press conference held a few hours later, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, Marcelo Ebrard, He explained that the Government has received the news with “sympathy” and has ruled out that the United States’ decision is a sign of “impunity”, but rather “an act of respect for Mexico and its Armed Forces.”
“The accusations will have to be supported and proven within the scope of the Prosecutor’s Office,” said the foreign minister, who also stressed that “the existing bases of cooperation in security matters must be maintained because they can only exist if there is respect for the sovereignty of Mexico.”
However, Ebrard has also reported that he had a conversation with the United States ambassador to Mexico, Cristopher Landau, to whom he showed his “surprise” and “discontent”, after the Mexican Government was not notified “in advance” of the investigation that the US Justice was preparing against General Cienfuegos.
Later, he said, he had a telephone conversation on October 26 with the prosecutor Barr, in which he let him know “the discontent of the Government of Mexico due to lack of shared information in relation to “this case, since both countries have forged” an alliance against organized crime. “
“It was not understandable for Mexico that being allies we were not notified,” said the Foreign Minister, who specified that the return of Hundred fires the country will be made as a citizen without charges in the United States.
“He will continue his process in Mexico, he will return to our country. It means that Mexican laws will be applied because the events referred to in the US investigation were presumably committed in Mexican territory,” he added.
Detention of Cienfuegos
On October 15, the general Cienfuegos, who served as Defense Minister during the six-year term of Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018), was arrested in mid-October in Los Angeles California, accused of drug trafficking and money laundering.
Under the Operation Godfather of the Department for Drug Control (DEA) of the United States, the United States agents have said to have found evidence and testimonies of the relationship between Cienfuegos and the former director of the Ministry of Public Security, Genaro García Luna, who is currently accused of his alleged links with him organized crime.
This is the first time in the history of Mexico that a former defense minister He is detained for his alleged relationship with criminal groups linked to drug trafficking, either in the United States or on Mexican soil.
In addition to these accusations, Hundred firesThe 72-year-old is carrying scandals regarding his responsibility in several cases of human rights violations under the Peña Nieto administration, such as the one in Tlatlaya, where 22 people were killed by Army troops.
Although there are several versions of what happened, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) de México confirmed that those who were in the place did not resist, but despite this, at least fifteen of those killed were extrajudicially.
He has also been accused of “inaction” in the case of the 43 normalistas from Ayotzinapa, who were attacked on September 27, 2014 by a group of municipal police from Iguala and the Guerreros Unidos cartel. Cienfuegos then denied any responsibility on the part of the Armed Forces.
The undersecretary of Human Rights Population and Migration of Mexico, Alejandro Encinas, has asserted that his arrest will affect, in fact, the investigation into the disappearance of the 43 normalistas from Ayotzinapa in Guerrero.