Former Mexican Defence Minister was charged with drug trafficking and money laundering while holding public office on Friday, October 16. General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, who served from 2012 to 2018, was arrested in Los Angeles. As per BBC, he is scheduled to be produced before the court in California on October 17.
As per reports, Zepeda has been held on four charges which include conspiracy to the distribution of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana in the United States. Prosecutors have alleged that in exchange for bribe payments, the Former Mexican Defence Minister permitted the H-2 Cartel - a cartel that routinely engaged in wholesale violence, including torture and murder - to operate with impunity in Mexico.
If convicted he could face a jail term of a decade or more. As of now, the prosecutors have argued to keep Zepeda in custody stressing that he poses a risk of flight.
Meanwhile, President of Mexico Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said that the former minister's arrest in Los Angeles exposes the past government's corruption, as the General faces drug and money laundering charges. "This is an unmistakable example of the decomposition of the government, of how civil service was degrading, the government service during the neoliberal period," Obrador said at his daily press conference.
General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, 72, is the second former Mexican cabinet official arrested in the US on drug charges since last year. Earlier, Genaro García Luna was arrested in Texas on drug trafficking charges. US prosecutors allege he took tens of millions of dollars in bribes to protect Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's Sinaloa cartel.
Image Credits: AP