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Mexican Ex-Defense Sec. Indicted on Laundering and Drugs Charges, Has History of Rights Abuses in Mexico

HeadlineOct 19, 2020

Mexico’s former defense secretary, General Salvador Cienfuegos, has been indicted in New York on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to distribute drugs in the U.S. from 2015 to 2017. Cienfuegos is accused of working with the Beltrán Leyva Cartel to arrest and torture rivals in exchange for bribes.

Cienfuegos has also long been accused of human rights abuses in Mexico, including refusing to allow investigators to interview soldiers who may have been involved in the 2014 disappearance and likely massacre of 43 students from a teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero. Cienfuegos also defended soldiers who were accused of massacring nearly two dozen people in the town of Tlatlaya in the state of Mexico in 2014.

Cienfuegos, who was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport, served as defense secretary from 2012 to 2018 under President Enrique Peña Nieto.

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