Federal authorities in California arrested Mexico’s former secretary of defense. He is expected to make a court appearance in the near future where U.S. federal prosecutors will unveil the charges against him.
On Thursday evening, Mexico’s Foreign Relations Minister Marcelo Ebrard announced via social media the arrest of former Mexican Secretary of Defense Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda. The minister claimed he received notice of the arrest from the U.S. Embassy in Mexico.
He sido informado por el Embajador Christopher Landau de los Estados Unidos que el ex Secretario de la Defensa Nacional, Gral. Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, ha sido detenido en el Aeropuerto de Los Angeles, California.
— Marcelo Ebrard C. (@m_ebrard) October 16, 2020
Cienfuegos served as Mexico’s top military official during the administration of former President Enrique Pena Nieto. As part of his duties, Cienfuegos was the top authority in Mexico’s military. During that period the Mexican military was one of the main forces involved in the country’s war on drugs.
According to Ebrard, Cienfuegos is expected to go before a judge in California on Friday morning. It is customary in U.S. federal court cases that sealed charges are not disclosed until the defendant appears before a magistrate. In cases with several defendants, prosecutors only reveal the names of the arrested parties.
The arrest of Mexico’s former top military official comes just months after U.S. authorities arrested the country’s former top law enforcement official Genaro Garcia Luna, Breitbart Texas reported. Garcia Luna served as the public security secretary for Mexico from 2006 to 2012 under President Felipe Calderon. According to federal prosecutors, Garcia Luna took millions in bribes from drug cartels in exchange for protection and information. It remains unclear if Garcia Luna’s charges are connected with the sealed charges against Cienfuegos.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com.
Brandon Darby is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and senior Breitbart management. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
Tony Aranda from Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project contributed to this report