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News > Mexico

Mexico Drops Charges Against Ex-Army Chief Cienfuegos

  • General Salvador Cienfuegos, Mexico.

    General Salvador Cienfuegos, Mexico. | Photo: Twitter/ @carmenhernndezG

Published 15 January 2021

He was extradited to Mexico after being detained in the United States for alleged links to a drug cartel.

Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) on Friday endorsed the withdrawal of all charges against former Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos, following an investigation by the Attorney General's Office (FGR).


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On Thursday, the FGR found no evidence of illicit enrichment nor any links between Cienfuegos and an organized illegal organization investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which accused him of several crimes last year. 

"We maintain that impunity, and certainly corruption, must end. But also that there cannot be reprisals and revenge. Crimes cannot be invented," AMLO said.

The President announced that the investigation's findings, including the files submitted by U.S. authorities, will be published so Mexican people can have access to the case. 

Cienfuegos, who was head of the Army during President Enrique Peña Nieto's administration (2012-2018), was arrested on October 15 in Los Angeles on allegations of links to organized crime and money laundering.

Based on messages intercepted between 2015 and 2017, the DEA held that drug trafficker Juan Patron enjoyed protection from Cienfuegos, who would have avoided crackdowns against the gang and helped the cartel to expand operations in Sinaloa.

On November 18, after diplomatic interventions by Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard, the U.S. granted Cienfuegos' extradition and withdrew four charges related to manufacturing, importing, and distributing narcotics. 

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