The former Secretary of Defense of Mexico Salvador Cienfuegos, detained in the United States (USA) accused of drug trafficking and money laundering, was transferred this Monday from Los Angeles to New York, after a judge denied granting him bail and anticipated that he would authorize to be taken to that city.
This was reported today by the Univisión network, citing sources from the Mexican Foreign Ministry and the United States Government.
“He’s already in New York, but they haven’t said anything yet for security reasons,” said one of the sources who asked to keep his identity anonymous.
The US Marshals Service, the Justice Department and the Cienfuegos defense declined to confirm the transfer, Univision added.
Cienfuegos was arrested on October 15 upon his arrival at the Los Angeles airport (California) accused by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York of drug trafficking and money laundering.
The crimes, according to the accusation, were committed between 2015 and 2017, when Cienfuegos was in charge of the Secretariat of National Defense of Mexico.
The prosecution’s brief, signed by the head of the Eastern District of New York, Richard Donoghue, accuses Cienfuegos of being involved in the production, trafficking and distribution of 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, 5 kilograms or more of cocaine and 1 kilogram of heroin.
On October 20, Alexander MacKinnon, judge of the Federal Court of the Central District of California in Los Angeles, denied granting bail to the former Secretary of Defense during the Government of Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018).
In addition, the district judge announced that he would sign the order to transfer him to New York in the coming weeks.
During the opening arguments, the defense attorney, Duane Lyons, defended that there is no risk of flight because the former minister wants to “wash his image” and requested his release on a bail of $ 750,000, which, he said, was “the savings of the entire life “of Cienfuegos.
The lawyer also pointed out that the defendant’s age, 72, puts his health at risk during the coronavirus pandemic if he remains locked up in a US jail.
However, the judge rejected these arguments and denied the defense’s request.
Retired General Cienfuegos was considered one of the most reputable military personnel in the Armed Forces and highly esteemed among the troops, a career marred by the Ayotzinapa massacre and, now, by his arrest at the request of the United States Anti-Drug Agency (DEA, in its acronym in English).