Mexico’s ex-defence minister arrested in the US

World

A former Mexican defence minister has been arrested in the US.

Gen Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda was detained at Los Angeles Airport, Mexico’s foreign minister announced in a tweet late on Thursday.

The Mexican government has confirmed that he was arrested on a warrant issued by the US Drug Enforcement Administration.

The foreign minister said he expected to be informed of the charges against Gen Cienfuegos in the coming hours.

No further details have yet been released.

Gen Cienfuegos, 72, served as minister from 2012 to 2018, under President Enrique Pena Nieto.

His role as the most senior member of the armed forces meant he played a key role in Mexico’s war on drugs.

But there were accusations of complicity between the state and the country’s powerful drug cartels throughout Pena Nieto’s presidency.

Earlier reports revealed that one of the former president’s closest advisers was extradited to Mexico from Spain on corruption charges.

Emilio Lozoya, the former boss of Mexican state oil company Pemex, is accused of taking $10m in bribes from a Brazilian construction firm that has admitted paying off Latin American politicians. He has denied any wrongdoing.

 

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