By Jorge Antonio Rocha
MEXICO (AA) – The US attorney general dropped drug trafficking and money laundering charges on Salvador Cienfuegos, leaving the former Mexican defense secretary to his native justice system.
In a joint statement, the US attorney general and Mexican Federal Attorney-General announced that charges against Cienfuegos would be dropped in the US, but that he would face a criminal investigation in Mexico.
According to the US Justice Department, all evidence and information on Cienfuegos's arrest were sent to the Mexican prosecution, promising further cooperation in the case.
The Mexican government started its own investigation after being informed of Cienfuegos's arrest in the US, before which no investigation or allegations had been posed in Mexico against him, the statement added.
Mexico's President Lopez Obrador declared that no evidence or accusation had been leveled so far, accusing the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of collaborating with Cienfuegos.
"There was no information; they [DEA] had more information because they used to work together, we didn't possess any information, and we didn't cover for anyone."
Salvador Cienfuegos served as secretary of national security under former President Enrique Pena Nieto between 2012-2018. On Oct. 15, police arrested Cienfuegos for drug trafficking and money laundering.
After his arrest, lawmakers affiliated with the Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) set in motion an initiative to provide economic resources to Cienfuegos, using the federal budget to pay for Cienfuego's legal support, though was subsequently rejected by President Lopez Obrador.
"When Mexicans are detained or face a trial in foreign countries, we will support them. They have consular assistance, but we will not use resources to assist anyone facing criminal allegations. "
Salvador Cienfuegos is the second high-ranking military leader to be apprehended for drug trafficking charges. Last year, Genaro Garcia Luna was also arrested for similar charges in Texas.