US to drop drug charges against Mexico’s former defense chief
Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda was arrested in Los Angeles but will be returned to Mexico, which has launched its own investigation
The U.S. Department of Justice announced that it would drop charges against former Mexican Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos Cepeda and return him to Mexico after his Los Angeles arrest in October strained relations between Washington and Mexico City..
US Attorney General William Barr, in a joint statement with Attorney General of Mexico Alejandro Herz Manero, noted that the US Department of Justice will seek to drop charges against Cienfuegos after Mexico launched its own investigation..
However, Mexico has not pledged to file charges after the completion of the investigation..
“In recognition of the strong partnership between Mexican and US law enforcement and to demonstrate our united front against all forms of crime, the US Department of Justice has decided to seek the removal of US criminal charges against former Minister Cienfuegos so that his activities can be investigated in accordance with Mexican law, and, if necessary, he would be charged, “they said.
“At the request of the Attorney General’s Office of the Republic, the US Department of Justice, in accordance with the treaty governing the exchange of evidence, has transferred evidence to Mexico in this case and is committed to continue to cooperate on this framework in support of the investigation by the Mexican authorities, ”the joint statement reads..
Cienfuegos, who served as Mexico’s Secretary of Defense from 2012-2018, was arrested under a Drug Enforcement Order upon arrival at Los Angeles International Airport..
Eastern District of New York indicted him on four count drug smuggling and money laundering charges.
Earlier this month, he declared his innocence on charges of aiding the N-2 cartel..
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