U.S. Drops Drug Charges Against Fmr. Mexican Secretary of Defense

Mexico's Defense Secretary Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda gestures as U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis listens during a reception ceremony in Mexico City, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. Mattis is meeting with senior Mexican government officials in the capital on the eve of Mexico's national Independence Day. At right is Secretary of …
AP File Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

U.S. prosecutors dismissed drug trafficking charges against Mexico’s former secretary of defense Tuesday. The alleged narco-general nicknamed “the Godfather” is expected to be sent home to face charges “if appropriate.”

In a joint statement issued by the U.S. Department of Justice and Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (FGR), prosecutors dismissed all charges filed against General Salvador Cienfuegos so he can be “if appropriate, charged under Mexican law.”

Mexico’s FGR statement also used the “if appropriate” wording, raising red flags as to the future of any prosecution.

On October 15, U.S. agents arrested Cienfuegos in California as he landed for a vacation. Federal authorities claimed that Cienfuegos worked closely with and protected members of the Beltran Leyva Cartel known as “H2.”

The case caused diplomatic tension where Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Relations Marcelo Ebrard complained about a lack of notice before the charges were revealed against Cienfuegos.

Despite the optimism described in the joint statement, Mexico’s FGR and the nation’s court system have a long history of corruption that has led to the release of numerous drug lords under suspicious circumstances. One of the most notable cases came in 2013 when a judge ordered the immediate release of Rafael Caro Quintero, a famed leader of the Guadalajara Cartel and one of the men responsible for the torture and murder of U.S. DEA Agent Enrique Kiki Camarena. Caro Quintero’s release came before U.S. courts could be notified for possible extradition even though he had numerous pending charges. Caro Quintero supposedly returned to a life of organized crime.

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 bdarby@breitbart.com.     


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.