AMLO tells the DEA to “check itself”

June 13, 2016, file photo, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents (AP, File)

The demand is the latest in a saga concerning allegations from the U.S agency that the country’s former defense chief was collaborating with drug traffickers.

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s president lashed out again on Friday at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, saying it should pursue an internal investigation into its handling of its case against Mexico’s former defense minister Salvador Cienfuegos.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s comments seemed designed to heighten already inflamed tensions between the neighboring countries over U.S. allegations that emerged last year that Cienfuegos was on the payroll of a drug cartel. López Obrador – who claims to have had made fighting corruption one of the pillars of his administration – accused the DEA earlier this month of fabricating the charges and intentionally damaging Mexico’s reputation.

“There is no way that we are going to invent crimes just because the DEA says so,” the Mexican president said Friday in his morning press conference. “The DEA has to explain who made the case file, and why they arrested the general 10 days before the [U.S.] election.”

The DEA said it had “no comment” about López Obrador’s remarks.

While the arrest of Cienfuegos initially put Mexico on the defensive —  the possibility of its top general colluding with a drug cartel was nothing short of humiliating — its top officials have since gone on the offensive, none more so than the president.

His abrasive comments add to a growing saga over Cienfuegos, who was arrested in Los Angeles in October. Faced with a diplomatic crisis when it became clear that the authorities in Mexico had not known about the investigation and planned arrest of Cienfuegos, the U.S. agreed to drop charges against the general and send him home. Less than two months later, Mexico’s Attorney General cleared Cienfuegos of all charges, and released more than 700 pages of allegedly incriminating evidence that U.S. officials had handed over along with the general.

“There is no way that we are going to invent crimes just because the DEA says so,” the Mexican president said Friday in his morning press conference. “The DEA has to explain who made the case file, and why they arrested the general 10 days before the [U.S.] election.”

The DEA said it had “no comment” about López Obrador’s remarks.

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