The US rules out filing charges against former minister Cienfuegos so that he can be tried in Mexico

Mexico celebrates the gesture of the United States, because “it is an act of respect”


The Department of Justice of the United States has confirmed this Tuesday that it will not file charges against former Mexican Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos, accused of drug trafficking, so that he can be tried in the Latin American country.

Through a joint statement with the Mexican Attorney General’s Office, the United States Attorney General, Williamn Barr, explained that Washington has preferred not to request “criminal charges” against Cienfuegos “in recognition of the solid police partnership” between the two 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 former Minister Cienfuegos, so that he may be investigated and, where appropriate, charged, in accordance with the Mexican law, “the statement said.

The text also indicated that the Mexican Prosecutor’s Office “opened its own investigation” after “learning of the arrest” and the charges of drug trafficking and money laundering that the United States planned to file against General Cienfuegos.

“Our two countries remain committed to cooperation in this matter, as well as to all of our bilateral law enforcement cooperation,” says the Department of Justice, which has already provided evidence in 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 partnership increases the security of the citizens of our two countries,” the statement concluded.


For his part, in a press conference held a few hours later, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, Marcelo Ebrard, explained that the Government had received the news with “sympathy” and had ruled out that the United States decision was a sample. 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 will have to 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 US ambassador to Mexico, Cristopher Landau, to whom he showed his “surprise” and “discontent” after the Mexican government was not notified “in advance. “the investigation that the US Justice was preparing against General Cienfuegos.

Later, he related, he had a telephone conversation on October 26 with the prosecutor Barr, in which he let him know “the dissatisfaction of the Government of Mexico due to the lack of information shared 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 has specified that the return of Cienfuegos to 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.


On October 15, General Cienfuegos, who served as Defense Minister during Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration (2012-2018), was arrested in mid-October in Los Angeles, California, accused of drug trafficking and money laundering.

Under the ‘Operation Godfather’ of the United States Department of Drug Control (DEA), US agents have said they have found evidence and testimonies of Cienfuegos’ relationship with the former director of the Ministry of Public Security, Genaro García Luna , currently charged for his alleged links to organized crime.

This is the first time in the history of Mexico that a former defense minister has been arrested 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, Cienfuegos, 72, dragged scandals regarding its responsibility in several cases of human rights violations under the Peña Nieto administration, such as that of Tlatlaya, where 22 people were killed by Army troops.

Although there are several versions of what happened, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) of Mexico 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 detention will affect, in fact, the investigation into the disappearance of the 43 normalistas from Ayotzinapa in Guerrero.

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