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Mexico says belief important after US drops case in opposition to ex-army chief

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The case prompted the federal government to threaten a evaluate of agreements permitting US brokers to function in Mexico.

A US federal decide granted the US authorities’s request to dismiss with out prejudice its felony indictment in opposition to Salvador Cienfuegos, former Mexican defence minister, on Wednesday, a transfer Mexico mentioned would restore belief in severely strained safety cooperation ties.

US District Choose Carol Bagley Amon in Brooklyn, New York was contemplating the request after Tuesday’s abrupt announcement by US Legal professional Normal William Barr and Mexico Legal professional Normal Alejandro Gertz Manero that the US case would finish.

Cienfuegos, 72, had served as Mexico’s defence minister from 2012 to 2018 below former President Enrique Pena Nieto, and the case prompted the present authorities to threaten a evaluate of agreements permitting US brokers to function in Mexico.

Mexico’s Defence Secretary Normal Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda standing alongside former US Protection Secretary Jim Mattis throughout a reception ceremony in Mexico Metropolis [File: Rebecca Blackwell/AP Photo]

Cienfuegos was arrested final month on the Los Angeles Worldwide Airport, changing into the primary high Mexican army official taken into US custody for drug-related corruption at dwelling, and pleaded not responsible to drug and cash laundering conspiracy costs.

However US prosecutors mentioned “delicate and vital overseas coverage issues” now outweighed the US authorities’s curiosity in persevering with to prosecute Cienfuegos, and subsequently their case in opposition to him must be dismissed.

Mexican International Minister Marcelo Ebrard mentioned the arrest had broken the belief wanted for bilateral cooperation preventing drug gangs. He celebrated the choice to drop the case and mentioned it laid a basis for future cooperation.

The prosecutors additionally mentioned Cienfuegos agreed to return to Mexico if the US costs had been dropped.

He has not been charged in Mexico and faces no arrest warrant there. The Mexican authorities mentioned its case was primarily based totally on proof supplied by the US.

Mexico’s International Minister Marcelo Ebrard mentioned Salvador Cienfuegos will return to Mexico as a free man [Edgard Garrido/Reuters]

Cienfuegos will return to Mexico as a free man, Ebrard mentioned, including that the lawyer basic’s workplace was learning the US proof and would determine subsequent steps.

US prosecutors accused Cienfuegos of abusing the facility of his workplace to guard a faction of the Beltran-Leyva cartel whereas ordering operations in opposition to rival gangs.

Whereas in workplace, Cienfuegos had labored intently with the US counterparts on cross-border felony issues and was a number one Mexican determine preventing that nation’s drug battle.

His arrest, which Mexico had not been warned about, shocked Mexico’s safety institution, the place Cienfuegos has maintained shut ties.

The Mexican president questioned the work of US Drug Enforcement Administration brokers within the nation, saying that they had been near Salvador Cienfuegos for years [File: Carlos Jasso/Reuters]

Following the arrest, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador questioned the work of US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) brokers within the nation, saying that they had been near Cienfuegos for years.

The case set off a flurry of frantic calls between Barr, DEA Performing Administrator Timothy Shea, and Mexican officers to calm tensions.

In an announcement on Tuesday, Barr and Gertz mentioned the US Division of Justice supplied proof it has gathered to Mexican authorities and would assist their investigation.

Cienfuegos’s arrest got here 10 months after the US prosecutors charged Mexico’s former high public safety chief, Genaro Garcia Luna, with taking bribes to guard the Sinaloa drug cartel as soon as run by drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Garcia Luna has pleaded not responsible.