Mexico publishes US evidence on ex-defense secretary

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MEXICO CITY (AP) – Mexico on Friday released 751 pages of evidence it received from the United States against Mexico’s former Defense Secretary General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, whom US prosecutors had accused of drug trafficking.

The unprecedented move came a day after Mexico announced it was dropping the case against Cienfuegos, which the United States arrested in October and then returned to Mexico a month later after dropping the charges under pressure of the Mexican government.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Friday dismissed the evidence against Cienfuegos as circumstantial and accused the United States Drug Enforcement Administration of fabricating the charges and showing unprofessionalism in its investigation.

It was not immediately clear whether the newly released documents would affect further prosecutions in the United States or compromise the identities of witnesses.

The file contains transcripts of Blackberry messenger exchanges allegedly between cartel figures and Cienfuegos, who, according to US prosecutors, was alternately identified as “the godfather”, “Zepeda” and “Sepeda”. All pages are marked: “Shared by court order, not for further distribution.”

The US Department of Justice said on Friday it reserved the right to resume prosecution against Cienfuegos, who had been accused of accepting bribes in exchange for ensuring the military would not take any action. measures against the H-2 cartel while acting against its rivals. He has also been accused of introducing cartel leaders to other corrupt Mexican officials.

The case begins with text messages exchanged in December 2015 between Daniel Silva Garate, alias “el H-9”, and Juan Francisco Patrón Sánchez, “H-2”, who were prominent figures in the drug gangs in the State of Nayarit, on the Pacific coast of Mexico. Both were killed two years later in shootings with the Mexican Marines.

In the exchange, Silva Garate, a lieutenant of Patrón Sanchez, describes attending a meeting with “The Godfather”.

Silva Garate describes being picked up by men with short, military-style haircuts wearing berets. He says they were traveling in three SUVs with darkened windshields, “going crazy”, escorted by motorcycles.

At one point, Patrón Sanchez said to his subordinate: “He (the godfather) is second after the president … talk to him calmly.” Silva Garate later describes having a meal with a pale-skinned man – Cienfuegos has pale, pockmarked skin – and being taken to a house in Mexico City’s upscale Las Lomas neighborhood.

At one point, Silva-Garate tells his boss that the men – whose heads are also closely severed – are taking him to the Defense Department headquarters in Mexico City.

Boss Sanchez tells Silva Garate, “Give him a hug and tell him it’s an honor to meet him, and tell him if we loved him before, now we would die for him, we won’t. never hurt. ”

Silva-Garate says the man was wearing a uniform. “Hey, this is the guy who appears on TV,” he writes in astonishment, although he spells the name Salvador Sinfuego Sepeda.

“He wants you to work, so there’s a shit of money,” Silva Garate sends to her boss. “We have to do something from Colombia.”

Silva Garate said at one point that “the godfather” is concerned about safety and wants them to remove references to him, and the two agree to throw their phones away after the meeting.

“There is no way he is not recognized,” jokes Patrón Sanchez at another point.

Silva Garate tells her boss that the “Godfather” told her, “Now we’re going to do great things with you… that what you did is…

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