“The government of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador violated the legal aid treaty with the United States by disseminating confidential materials about the case of former Secretary of National Defense Salvador Cienfuegos.” U.S. Department of Justice.
MEXICO CITY (Reforma) – In an unusual midnight press release, the Justice Department went further, refuting Lopez Obrador’s accusations that the drug trafficking case against Cienfuegos had been fabricated by ensuring that the released documents prove it.
“The U.S. Department of Justice is also deeply disappointed by Mexico’s decision to publish information shared with Mexico on a confidential basis,” a Justice Department spokeswoman said in the statement expanding on its position on Cienfuegos.
“Publishing such information violates the U.S.-Mexico Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, and raises questions about whether the United States can continue to share information to support Mexico’s criminal investigations,” the U.S. Department of Justice said.
“We are deeply disappointed by Mexico’s decision to close its investigation into former Mexican Secretary of National Defense General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda. The U.S. Department of Justice fully supports his investigation and his charges,” They said.
Just Thursday, the Attorney General’s Office announced that it would not move forward with proceedings against Cienfuegos, against whom the Justice Department decided in November to drop its charges against him on the condition that he be prosecuted in Mexico.
“The U.S. Department of Justice points out that the materials released today by Mexico show that the case against General Cienfuegos was not, in fact, invented,” the agency said.
“Those materials also show that the information on which it was based to accuse General Cienfuegos was legally gathered in the U.S., pursuant to an appropriate U.S. court order, and in full respect of Mexico’s sovereignty,” the Justice Department insisted.
“A U.S. federal grand jury analyzed that material and other evidence and concluded that the evidence supported the criminal charges against Cienfuegos,” it concluded.
Last October, Cienfuegos was arrested in Los Angeles, California, when he was about to take a vacation by U.S. counter-narcotics agents and then transferred to a federal court in New York to face federal drug trafficking and money laundering charges.
In mid-November, however, the former Secretary of National Defense was returned to Mexico after President Donald Trump’s administration decided to have a federal judge dismiss the charges after strong complaints from the Mexican government about the detention.
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