DEA causes a stir by acting as Mexico's police again

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador raised his voice against the intrusion of the US anti-drugs agency
Atalayar_Ex ministro de Defensa de Mexico, Salvador Cienfuegos

REUTERS/CARLOS JASSO  -   Former Mexican defence minister Salvador Cienfuegos has been accused of drug trafficking and money laundering while in government

The arrest of former Mexican Defence Secretary Salvador Cienfuegos in Los Angeles has put the spotlight on the actions of the United States, and particularly on its anti-drugs agency (DEA), for acting again without warning as Mexico's police and judge in view of the lack of investigations in the Latin American country. 

The president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, asked that the Secretary of Defense of the government of Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018) be “punished” if his links with drug trafficking are confirmed, but he raised his voice against the interference of the DEA in Mexican affairs.

“What is not worth is that they participate in Mexico, even link to institutions in Mexico, get information and resolve without making it known to the Government of Mexico what they are doing research “, criticized the president in a press conference.

Mexico did not know about the capture 

According to the indictment of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, the general Cienfuegos, captured at the Los Angeles airport, guaranteed that no military operations were carried out against the H-2 cartel in exchange for bribes.

Investigation of the DEA against the former secretary, includes the interception of thousands of messages from Mexican mobile phones that would show that Cienfuegos, for whom the Prosecutor’s Office is requesting unconditional imprisonment, had put drug traffickers in contact with “corrupt officials.”

According to López Obrador, there is no investigation in Mexico against Cienfuegos for drug trafficking and the Government was unaware that the general was going to be captured in Los Angeles. 

Atalayar_Edificio Federal Edward R. Roybal y el Palacio de Justicia de los Estados Unidos junto al Centro de Detención Metropolitano de Los Ángeles
REUTERS/LUCY NICHOLSON - Edward R. Roybal Federal Building and the United States Courthouse next to the Los Angeles Metropolitan Detention Center where Salvador Cienfuegos is being held

Although 15 days ago, the president was informed by the Embassy of Mexico in the United States, that in Washington there was “unofficial” information about an investigation against Cienfuegos.

For the security expert Juan Carlos Montero, “it is totally credible” that Mexico did not know anything because in the United States “They have always been very suspicious of informing the Mexican government” for fear that their investigations would “fall”.

The capture of highest position in the Army It adds to the arrest in December in the United States of Genaro García Luna, Secretary of Public Security of the Government of Felipe Calderón (2006-2012), accused of receiving bribes from the Sinaloa Cartel.

“The Mexican authorities look ridiculous because we have a strong institutional weakness and it is very rare that these cases are investigated in Mexico," Montero, who is also a researcher at Tecnológico de Monterrey, told Efe.

Interference in Mexico

After this arrest, López Obrador announced that he will ask the United States authorities to “let him know about these operations” because he is “very concerned that the law is respected. sovereignty” from Mexico.

The president said that before his arrival to power in 2018, “some foreign agencies were totally” infiltrated, which “even decided on the matter of security and the fight against drug trafficking “in Mexico.

He specifically cited the Operation “Fast and Furious”, in which the United States secretly introduced thousands of weapons to Mexico to track drug trafficking during the Calderón administration.

“The Government of the United States owes us, on this matter, an explanation “, López Obrador stressed, assuring that said operation” caused the death of many people. “

Atalayar_El presidente mexicano Andrés Manuel López Obrador, López Obrador
AP/MARCO UGARTE - Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, López Obrador said his ambassador to the United States told him there was an ongoing investigation involving Mexico's former defence secretary, retired General Salvador Cienfuegos

“The annoyance with the DEA is that work at your leisure and set the standard for the work of Mexican security institutions, “internationalist José Enrique Sevilla told EFE, who believes that, regardless of whether the investigation against Cienfuegos is successful or not, this agency” considers Mexico as its zone. of influence “.

In everyone’s memory is the operations of capture of drug traffickers carried out by the DEA in Mexican territory, after the murder of its agent Enrique Camarena in 1985 in Guadalajara.

“By way of covered or covered, the DEA considers itself with the right to intervene in our country as it happened in the 90s and as it has happened in other Latin American countries, “said Montero.

The Mexican Army, discredited

But it is not by chance that López Obrador now raises his voice for interference in the capture of Cienfuegos, the highest office in the Army, and that he did not do so with him. arrest of García Luna, leader of the Federal Police.

“The Armed Forces are the mainstay of their government and a coup like this they will not accept easily,” said Sevilla, who recalled that López Obrador has formalized the role of the Army in public safety tasks and it has commissioned them to build the new capital airport, an emblematic infrastructure.

For this reason, although López Obrador announced that he will cease any member of the Army implicated in the plot of Cienfuegos, has been in charge on several occasions to demarcate the military forces from such practices.