US drops drug smuggling charges against former Mexican minister

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The United States is withdrawing charges against former Mexican general and former Secretary of Defense Salvador Cienfuegos, the US Department of Justice and the Mexican Public Prosecutor’s Office said on Tuesday. The Mexican former minister was arrested in October in the American city of Los Angeles on suspicion of involvement in drug smuggling and money laundering.

“The United States Department of Justice has decided to drop charges against former US Secretary of State Cienfuegos so that he can be investigated and, if appropriate, charged under Mexican law,” the statement said. joint statement with the Mexican OM.

Under previous Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, Cienfuegos was in charge of the military’s fight against drug cartels and worked closely with US authorities on cross-border security matters. His arrest was unexpected and strained US-Mexico relations.

Mexico had not been warned in advance of the arrest of Cienfuegos. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, in response to the arrest, threatened to break open cooperation agreements with the US on the mandate of the US anti-narcotics brigade DEA.

The US Justice Department said it has turned over evidence to Mexico and is willing to support Mexican authorities in further investigations into the former general.

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