Retired Mexican Army General Arrested on Extortion Charges

Mexican Army
Breitbart Texas / Cartel Chronicles

A retired Mexican Army general who at one time was a candidate for secretary of defense faces extortion charges. State authorities arrested him in Central Mexico.

The Oaxaca Attorney General’s Office arrested Gen. Juan Ernesto Antonio Bernal Reyes and another man on extortion charges stemming from a July 2020 incident. The two men remain behind bars without bond. State authorities say additional charges are forthcoming.

The two men allegedly called a businessman demanding a large fee to not hurt him nor his family (case file 30624/FDAI/UECS/2021), the Oaxaca Attorney General’s Office revealed. The victim turned over the money but alerted state officials. Authorities were able to trace the call to General Bernal and his associate before obtaining an arrest warrant.

Prior to the criminal charges, Bernal Reyes served as a long-time officer in charge of several regions and reached the rank of division general, a position that made him a candidate for secretary of defense, El Universal revealed.

Bernal Reyes is the latest top-ranking military official to face allegations of criminal activity. In October 2020, U.S. authorities arrested former Mexican Secretary of Defense Salvador Cienfuegos on drug trafficking charges. The allegations at the time claimed Cienfuegos used his position to benefit certain cartels in exchange for hefty bribes. After diplomatic pressure, the U.S. Department of Justice released Cienfuegos to Mexico City so they could prosecute him first. Hours after his arrival in Mexico, authorities bonded Cienfuegos and months later publicly dismissed the charges.

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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