The prosecution has disclosed all the charges United States of America (US). Cienfuegos was detained at the Los Angeles airport on Thursday. “He is accused of accepting bribes in exchange for protection including warning cartel members about a US investigation,” said prosecutors in New York who charged the 72-year-old with four counts of drug trafficking and money laundering.
“In exchange for paying bribes, he allowed the H-2 Cartel, a cartel that routinely commits violence, including torture and murder, to operate with impunity in Mexico,” prosecutors said in court documents.
The H-2 cartel is the name for the Beltran-Leyva gang. Cienfuegos served from 2012 to 2018 in President Enrique Pena Nieto’s administration, whose aides and party members are now accused of high-level corruption.
Pena Nieto denies allegations that he also took bribes from drug cartels. (Also Read: Former Defense Minister Arrested by the US, President of Mexico Vows to Clean Up)
Cienfuegos’s detention came less than three weeks before the US presidential election. US President Donald Trump has made eradicating drug cartels his priority, albeit without major progress since he took office in 2017. (See Infographic: Off the Coast of Indonesia Will Be Protected By Turkey’s Advanced Weapons)
The detention of Cienfuegos, nicknamed El Padrino or The Godfather, in the August 2019 indictment, was finally carried out until he was in US custody. This will be the first time a former Mexican defense minister has been charged and detained in the US. (Watch Video: A Car Moved Into a Water Channel in Bandung)
The Pentagon awarded him for his accomplishments two years ago, amidst his various criminal activities. This proves the leakage in the war against drug cartels by the US.