Surprise over US move to drop drug charges against ex-Mexican minister

US strikes to drop fees towards a former Mexican defence minister accused of drug trafficking and cash laundering have sparked party, consternation and bewilderment.

Gen Salvador Cienfuegos was once arrested at Los Angeles airport ultimate month and accused of being on the center of a multimillion buck conspiracy to smuggle massive shipments of gear into the USA.

Prosecutors alleged that all through his six-year stint on the head of Mexico’s army, the 72-year-old had taken bribes to assist a shadowy cartel shift “hundreds of kilograms of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine” north over the border. He has denied the costs.

Cienfuegos was once essentially the most senior Mexican legitimate to were arrested for such crimes and the case shook the political and armed forces status quo in Latin The united states’s 2nd largest economic system.

Then again, on Tuesday, in a startling twist, the USA justice division introduced it will search to have the costs towards Cienfuegos brushed aside.

Prosecutors advised the pass judgement on “delicate and necessary international coverage issues outweigh the federal government’s passion in pursuing the prosecution of the defendant”.

The overall is anticipated to seem ahead of a New York court docket on Wednesday ahead of returning to Mexico.

Cienfuego’s attorneys have been extremely joyful, telling Vice Information it was once a victory for “a person who has completed such a lot excellent for his executive and his neighborhood”.

Mexico’s international minister, Marcelo Ebrard, additionally welcomed what he known as a “gesture of appreciate” in opposition to Mexico and its defense force, now not a “trail in opposition to impunity” for an alleged legal.

Ebrard denied the verdict was once connected to the USA election, the results of which Mexico’s nationalist chief, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has but to recognise.

The verdict to not recognize Joe Biden’s victory has led some to interpret the USA resolution to ditch its case towards Cienfuegos as a praise from Donald Trump to his Mexican counterpart.

Mike Vigil, the Drug Enforcement Management’s former leader of world operations, advised AP the “completely discouraging and disappointing” resolution was once “an enormous reward” from Trump.

Fernando Belaunzarán, a senior legitimate from the Mexican president’s former celebration, advised the Wall Side road Magazine: “There’s no doubt that that is Trump’s ultimate favour to López Obrador, it’s the end result in their stunning friendship.”

The ones claims left analysts questioning why Mexico’s executive was once so willing to repatriate Cienfuegos, who underworld contacts allegedly known as “El Padrino” or “the Godfather”.

“We don’t know,” the protection knowledgeable Alejandro Hope advised the newspaper El Common on Wednesday, “however it’s relatively imaginable force from the defense force performed a decisive function.”

Mexico’s army most sensible brass – a the most important supply of strengthen for López Obrador’s two-year-old management – was once concept to were apoplectic at Cienfuegos’s arrest on international soil, probably hanging the president below intense force to behave.

Chris Dalby, the managing editor of InSight Crime, mentioned that for López Obrador the go back house of Cienfuegos represented a political victory of varieties.

“Amongst his supporters there was once an outcry that Cienfuegos have been arrested with out the data of the Mexican executive. So no doubt bringing Cienfuegos again will play neatly to his base.”

However the USA U-turn additionally raised uncomfortable questions on impunity and corruption and fuelled fears that a guy who justice officers felt that they had a powerful case towards would by no means be delivered to justice.

“[Amlo’s] prosecutors are going to need to weigh up what the proof towards Cienfuegos is and if it is robust sufficient to warrant an overly public trial, towards the loyalty of the military and what kind of he needs to stay the military onside,” Dalby mentioned.

Like many observers, he was once unsure the overall would ever face trial in a civilian court docket. He mentioned: “Cienfuegos has a large number of buddies in top puts.”

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