Fmr. Mexican Secretary of Defense Walks Hours After U.S. Court Dismissal

Mexico's Defense Secretary Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda gestures as U.S. Defense Secret
AP File Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

Mexican prosecutors released the nation’s former secretary of defense hours after a U.S. court dismissed multiple drug trafficking charges against him. After landing in Mexico and speaking briefly with prosecutors, the cartel-linked general shared contact information and walked away a free man.

Listed in U.S. court documents as “The Godfather or Padrino,” Salvador Cienfuegos, a career Mexican Army General, was the secretary of defense under former President Enrique Pena Nieto. On October 15, U.S. agents arrested him in California as he landed for a family vacation and sent him to New York where he was held without bond. U.S. prosecutors claimed Cienfuegos was a close ally of the Beltran Leyva Cartel (H2) and leaked sensitive information.

On Wednesday evening, Cienfuegos landed at the Toluca airport. He met with Mexican prosecutors and was notified of a pending investigation, but was allowed him to leave.

Despite what initially appeared to be a strong case in New York, the U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday asked for the charges to be dismissed so Mexico could investigate Cienfuegos. The dismissal came after Mexico threatened to end various bilateral security partnerships.

On Wednesday, a U.S. District Judge granted the dismissal even after Cienfuegos admitted he did not fear Mexico’s justice system.

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

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     


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