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Mexico’s ex-defense minister faces five drug trafficking charges in US

Mexico’s ex-defense minister faces five drug trafficking charges in US
Former Mexican Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, who has been arrested in Los Angeles, is now facing five charges in the US related to drug trafficking, Mexico’s foreign minister has said.

The arrested general is expected to be transferred to New York shortly, a senior diplomat, Marcelo Ebrard, said on Twitter, citing the country’s consulate in Los Angeles.

Cienfuegos, who was in office from 2012 to 2018, was arrested late on Thursday at Los Angeles International Airport on a Drug Enforcement Administration warrant.

The high-profile arrest was praised by President Andrés Manuel Lopéz Obrador. He pledged to suspend any officials who might be implicated in the case against Cienfuegos, launching a fresh attack on his predecessors and blaming them for rampant corruption.

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“This is an unmistakable example of the decomposition of the government, of how the civil service was degrading,” Obrador said. He also pledged his full support to the heads of Mexico’s army and navy, calling them “incorruptible.”

The president also pledged to continue rooting out compromised government officials.

“If we’re not talking about a narco state, one can certainly talk about a narco government, and without doubt, about a government of mafiosi,” Obrador stated. “We’re cleaning up, purifying public life.”

Obrador also revealed that the arrest of Cienfuegos was apparently linked to the case against another former high-profile official, Genaro García Luna, who served as Mexico’s security minister from 2006 to 2012. He was arrested in the US last year on drug charges, the president added.

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