The attorney general says no evidence that Salvador Cienfuegos, previously arrested in the United States, collaborated with a major drug cartel.
Mexico will not continue criminal charges against Salvador Cienfuegos, the attorney general’s office said in a statement on Thursday, despite accusations by U.S. prosecutors that the former defense minister had collaborated with a major drug cartel.
In November, a federal judge accepted a request by the U.S. government to drop drug charges against Cienfuegos and return him to Mexico, which called the move to restore confidence in the neighbors’ strained security ties.
The attorney general’s office said its analysis of the evidence showed that Cienfuegos “never had any encounters with members of the criminal organization under investigation by US authorities, nor had any communication with them. nor committed acts aimed at protecting or helping these individuals ”.
Cienfuegos, a member of the government of former President Enrique Peña Nieto, was arrested in October at Los Angeles International Airport and accused by US prosecutors of collaborating with one of Mexico’s most powerful drug cartels.
His arrest in the United States followed a multi-year investigation that used wiretaps to track a military figure that traffickers had dubbed “El Padrino,” or the godfather.
Investigators concluded that “El Padrino” was Cienfuegos and had helped drug traffickers transport tons of narcotics.
However, the attorney general’s office said there was no evidence that Cienfuegos “used electronic equipment or means, or that he issued an order in favor of the criminal group identified in this case”.
Examination of Cienfuegos’ wealth and tax obligations revealed no evidence that he received any illegal income, he said, explaining the reasons why authorities decided not to pursue criminal charges. against the former minister.