After the United States prosecutor’s office desisted from indicting former Secretary of Defense, Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, of drug trafficking and money laundering crimes, which was ratified this Wednesday by Judge Carol Bagley Amon; in Mexico the question of why the same has not happened with the former secretary of Public Security in Felipe Calderón’s government, Genaro García Luna.
The unprecedented resolution of the United States, which claims to have “Thousands of evidences” of the guilt of the military, it has led to the conjecture that the Mexican government pressured the American Union to restrict the DEA’s operation in the country, if the former head of the Mexican Army was not released.
Despite the fact that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard assured this morning that “there is nothing hidden, nor is it an impunity agreement”, the withdrawal of charges from Cienfuegos and the return of the General “as a citizen in freedom ”is a suspicion that permeates the air, due to the unprecedented nature of the resolution.
On October 15, the former secretary of National Defense in Enrique Peña Nieto’s government, Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, was arrested at the Los Angeles, California airport, on four charges of drug trafficking and money laundering.
The impact in Mexico was brutal, since it was the arrest of a General of the Armed Forces of Mexico by US authorities, an unprecedented situation in the relationship between the two countries.
According to the accusation of the United States Attorney, while Cienfuegos was head of the Mexican Army, he established links and collaborated in exchange for bribes with the H-2 cartel (linked to the Beltrán Leyva Cartel), which was dedicated to drug trafficking to the United States. The accusing party claimed to have “thousands of solid evidence” against the general, among which were intercepted calls and witnesses that corroborated the relationship of the Mexican military with drug trafficking. It was an inquest that lasted years.
The news was even more shocking when the Mexican government accepted that it was unaware that the American Union was investigating the General.
In a first reaction, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador himself assured that the capture of the general was an “unequivocal example” of the corruption that existed in previous governments, while warning that “there would be a clean” within the Army to end the ties that Cienfuegos may still have with the active military.
Almost immediately, journalistic versions began to appear that assured that within the Army there was great disagreement with what happened and that there was pressure from the armed forces towards López Obrador, who has based his security strategy precisely on them.
On November 11, it was reported that the Foreign Ministry had sent a diplomatic note to the Donald Trump administration for the capture of a former Mexican defense secretary without first consulting the government.
After it transpired that there were calls between his chancellor, Marcelo Ebrard, and the US attorney general, William Barr, with a view to lowering the tension between the two countries.
A month after the arrest of Salvador Cienfuegos, another equally or more surprising news arrived: the United States government withdrew from accusing the General, for which he would be sent to Mexico to be tried. The announcement was made in a joint statement between the United States Attorney’s Office and that of Mexico.
On the morning of this Wednesday, November 18, the resolution was confirmed by Judge Carol Bagley Amon of the Eastern District Court of New York. At the beginning of the hearing, one of the two US prosecutors argued that: “Following this case is against the interests of the United States and its bilateral relationship with Mexico, specifically in cooperation, we put that interest before that of the Department of Justice”.
At that time, Judge Carol Bagley Amon asked if the decision came from the top of the Justice Department, from the office of Attorney General William Barr.
The response of the prosecutors was decisive: “Yes, Prosecutor Barr made the request,” to which Amon replied, “That was not clear to me, but now it is”., he pointed.
Immediately afterwards, the judge went to Cienfuegos Zepeda, who was asked if he accepted and understood the agreement to withdraw the charges. “Yes, ma’am,” replied the General.
When Amon asked if he was afraid of being persecuted in Mexico, Cienfuegos Zepeda replied: “No, ma’am.”
At the end of the hearing, the Cienfuegos lawyer, Edward Sapone, asserted that the military man is happy and that it may be this Wednesday when he leaves the United States.
“As the judge said, that will be done very soon, perhaps today (…) He said that the return to Mexico would be very fast, for security reasons we do not know when it will leave. He will be with his family as a free man “Sapone detailed.
Earlier, the Director General for North America of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Roberto Velasco, announced in a television interview that the General could arrive in Mexico this Wednesday or Thursday, while emphasizing that the dismissal of the charges against him military, not a gift from the Trump administration.
For his part, the Secretary of Foreign Relations, Marcelo Ebrard, acknowledged that in Mexico there is no arrest warrant against Salvador Cienfuegos, which is why the former Secretary of Defense would come to Mexico as a “free citizen.”
In what capacity is (General Salvador Cienfuegos) coming? He is a free citizen, he has not been detained “, he stressed.
“He has not been detained in Mexico, the FGR will give the details and the procedural path that he will follow, but the General comes to Mexico as a citizen repatriated by the North American authority and will make himself available to the FGR in freedom, he is not detained. , in that condition it will arrive in Mexico (…), it will depend on the evidence, the proceedings to substantiate it, ”he stressed.
The resolution taken by the United States government and the speed with which the case against the former head of National Defense was resolved, contrast enormously with what happens with the former Mexican Secretary of Public Security, Genaro García Luna, who is about to serve a year in detention in the United States, also accused of links with drug trafficking, of accepting millionaire bribes from the Sinaloa Cartel to allow him to operate freely in Mexico, in addition to false testimony.
The judge who is handling the García Luna case is the implacable Brian Cogan, the same one who sentenced the Mexican drug trafficker, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, to life imprisonment.. Cogan is also a judge of the Court for the Eastern District of New York, in Brooklyn.
Throughout all this time, Genaro García Luna has negotiated with the US government, offering evidence, to avoid being prosecuted; but so far no determination has been made.
During his participation in the morning conference at the National Palace, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard was questioned by representatives of the press about what the difference was in the cases of Cienfuegos Zepeda and García Luna, to which he explained “The first, General Cienfuegos is not a resident of the United States, he does not have financial operations in the United States, the crimes he is charged with are exclusively in Mexico, he has requested or has been requesting consular assistance. With the case of García Luna, none of these assumptions occur, nor has he requested our participation “he explained.
Journalist Anabel Hernández assured that she is investigating what happened in the previous days before the announcement of the withdrawal of charges against Salvador Cienfuegos in the United States. However, he assured that for now a message of impunity is sent that could result in a “boomerang” for the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador and it would be a gift from Donald Trump to AMLO for not having recognized Joe Biden as president-elect.
“This is an extremely serious matter for the American justice system, without a doubt in the coming days we will see very bloody analyzes about this interference by Donald Trump through William Barr to pressure the Eastern District Court of New York and practically forcing them to dismiss the charges against the general, they are charges of drug trafficking, for having received millionaire bribes from the H-2 cartel, linked to the Beltrán Leyva cartel, according to the documents of the New York Court, through Several years, not ten days, not a month, through several years the American government was able to document thousands of conversations, of messages, through the Blackberry system, between the then Secretary of Defense with a leader of the criminal organization called H. -2”said the journalist.
During the analysis table Aristegui News, noted that according to documents, There are recorded conversations between Salvador Cienfuegos and members of this criminal organization (H-2), where Cienfuegos with his own voice is narrating how he had had other experiences working for another cartel.
“Apparently Donald Trump and everything indicates that it is a way to thank President López Obrador for not expressing himself in congratulating President-elect Joe Biden,” Hernández said.
“These negotiations did not start yesterday… whoever thinks Trump is doing Mexico a favor or is even doing President López Obrador a favor seems to me a great mistake… whoever suggested to President López Obrador that he go through the government of Mexico to defend In one way or another, Cienfuegos in the United States is not his friend because, unlike Trump, who can make William Barr pressure the prosecution, in Mexico, President López Obrador, according to the new Constitution, does not have a single influence on the Prosecutor’s Office does not depend on him ”.
Hernández revealed that “In the last 30 days since Cienfuegos was arrested in Los Angeles, more conclusive evidence had been obtained about the involvement “that he had with the H2 Cartel, but since it is a political agreement, once the Trump government changes, the Court could reopen the file “, he stressed.
“I do feel that the issue of this action by the Mexican government is a boomerang for the AMLO government itself,” he said.
In addition, he highlighted that At the FGR, in charge of the investigation in Mexico, there are officials linked to former Secretary Genaro García Luna and “they are related groups” with the former Secretary of Defense.
“I hope I’m wrong, but how many days will it take for them to gather a decent folder so that they ask a judge for an arrest warrant … the promise of thinking that Cienfuegos can be prosecuted in Mexico is a very difficult promise to fulfill and more so with the characteristics of the FGR “, highlighted