UNITED STATES. Salvador Cienfuegos, the former Mexican defence minister has been arrested in the United States on Thursday in connection with a drug trafficking case allegedly. During his arrest, Cienfuegos was on a trip with his family. Cienfuegos was reportedly apprehended at the Los Angeles airport.
Cienfuegos served as Mexico’s defence chief from 2012-2018 under President Enrique Pena Nieto. The Mexican army was accused of frequent human right abuses during that period.
The worst scandal in Cienfuegos’ tenure involved the 2014 army killings of suspects in a grain warehouse. In June 2014, soldiers killed 22 suspects at the warehouse in the town of Tlatlaya, in which some people died in an initial shoot-out with the army patrol. According to a human rights investigation, a dozen suspects and around eight people were executed even after they surrendered.
In one of his tweets, Mexican Foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, said “The consul in Los Angeles will inform me of the charges in the next few hours. We will offer the consular assistance to which he is entitled.”
Meanwhile, Mexico’s investigative magazine, Proceso reported that the arrest was the result of a long-standing investigation into corruption involving drug traffickers.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Cienfuegos had been arrested at the request of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). However, there was no immediate confirmation from the US authorities on the issue.