General Salvador Cienfuegos, Secretary of National Defense (Sedena) during Enrique Peña Nieto’s six-year term, has a new lawyer: he is Edward V. Sapone, from the firm Sapone & Petrillo, who defended a high-profile implicated in the case of the sex sect NXIVM.
Cienfuegos was arrested on October 15 upon his arrival at the Los Angeles, California airport, accused by the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York of drug trafficking and “money laundering”.
During his time in detention in Los Angeles, he was defended by lawyer Duane R. Lyons, from the Quinn Emanuel firm, but now that Cienfuegos has been transferred to New York, Sapone will be his new defender.
Founding partner of Sapone & Petrillo, LLP, this attorney focuses on federal criminal defense and white collar crime litigation.
He has handled cases such as one involving Central Intelligence Agency agents tasked with protecting Barbara and Jenna Bush, wife and daughter of former President George W. Bush. He was also an advocate for actress Nicki Clyne, wife of fellow artist Allison Mack.
Clyne confessed to being part of NXIVM, the sex cult whose leader, Keith Raniere, was recently sentenced to life in prison.
Sapone is also an adviser on criminal defense matters to the Mexican government through its consulate in New York, says his biography on the firm’s website.
The biography mentions that throughout his career “Sapone has convinced prosecutors to dismiss a case or agree not to file charges.” His representation as an advisor to a president of Mexico resulted in no criminal charges being filed, “he says.
The crimes for which Cienfuegos is accused were committed between 2015 and 2017, when he was Secretary of Defense in 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 drugs.
Also, the United States government informed General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda that it will seek to confiscate all his assets.