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Jakarta Post

Mexico's ex-defense minister detained in US on DEA warrant



Los Angeles, United States   /   Fri, October 16, 2020   /   12:15 pm
Mexico's ex-defense minister detained in US on DEA warrant In this file photo taken on April 16, 2016 Mexican Defense Secretary Salvador Cienfuegos reads out a public apology before 26,000 soldiers assembled at a military base in Mexico City. Former Mexican Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos (2012-2018) was arrested at the airport in Los Angeles, California, on charges that are still unknown, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard reported October 15, 2020. (Agence France Presse/Ronaldo Schemidt)

The defense minister for Mexican ex-president Enrique Pena Nieto, General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, was detained at Los Angeles airport on Thursday on a US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) warrant, a DEA spokeswoman told Reuters.

DEA spokeswoman in Los Angeles, Nicole Nishida, said she had no further details about the nature of the warrant, the circumstances of the arrest, whether he was coming or going at the Los Angeles airport, or anything about family or others who may have been traveling with him.

Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Twitter that US Ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau informed him of the detention.

"The Consul in Los Angeles will be informing me of the charges in the next few hours. We will offer the consular assistance to which he is entitled. I will keep you posted," said Ebrard.

A Mexican diplomatic source said members of Cienfuegos' family, traveling with him at the time of the detention, have already been released.

Multiple members of Pena Nieto's cabinet and party have been implicated in high-level corruption cases, sometimes involving allegations of links to organized crime.

Cienfuegos' detention comes on the heels of the arrest of ex-President Felipe Calderon's security minister, Genaro Garcia Luna. Garcia Luna was arrested in Texas last year on suspicion of accepting millions of dollars in bribes from a major drug cartel he was tasked with combating.