Mexico clears general, publishes US evidence against him

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MEXICO CITY (AP) – Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has accused the United States Drug Enforcement Administration of fabricating drug trafficking charges against the country’s former defense secretary even as his government released hundreds of pages of US files purported to show detailed evidence of close ties to a drug gang.

The decision to denounce US prosecutors on Friday while clearing a senior prosecutor adds to a crisis in security cooperation for the new administration of President-elect Joe Biden.

This follows the Mexican government’s decision to restrict US agents and withdraw their immunity, apparently a slap in the face after US efforts to appease Mexico by releasing retired General Salvador Cienfuegos to stand trial in Mexico.

The US Department of Justice said it was “deeply disappointed” by the closure of the case against Cienfuegos. He also said the publication of the evidence violated a legal aid treaty and called into question the ability of the United States to continue to share information.

He also said that the published documents demonstrated the strength of the evidence against Cienfuegos.

López Obrador has relied heavily on the military for a wide range of projects far beyond security. In that case, he said that while many Mexicans regard the US courts as “the good, impeccable judges … in this case, with all due respect, those who conducted this investigation did not act professionally.”

His administration then released a 751-page dossier that US authorities had shared in support of what they understood to be the Mexican prosecution of Cienfuegos. Intercepted Blackberry messenger exchanges between traffickers since killed were marked: “Shared by court order, not for further distribution.”

It was not immediately clear whether the disclosure of the documents would affect other court cases in the United States.

The US government dropped its charges against Cienfuegos in November in a diplomatic concession in Mexico and sent him home, where he was immediately released.

López Obrador said on Friday that Mexican prosecutors had dropped the case because the evidence shared by the United States had no value in proving he had committed a crime.

“Why did they conduct the investigation like that?” López Obrador said. “Without support, without proof?”

The leaked documents include text messages allegedly intercepted between the leader of the H-2 cartel based in Nayarit state on the Pacific coast and a senior official, who is said to have acted as an intermediary with the general, often referred to as “the godfather”. And at one point like “Salvador Sinfuego Sepeda”.

In an exchange, Daniel Silva Garate told his boss, Juan Francisco Patrón Sánchez, that he was arrested by men with military-style short haircuts and taken to the headquarters of the Defense Department in Mexico City for a meeting with “The Godfather. “

Silva-Garate tells his boss that “The Godfather” told him, “Now we are going to do great things with you … that what you have done is small.”

Patrón Sanchez says he wants safe routes to ship drugs from Colombia and Silva Garate texts: “He says as long as he’s here you’ll be free… they’ll never conduct operations. strong ”or raids.

Silva Garate tells her boss that the “Godfather” told her: “You can sleep peacefully, no operation will affect you.”

Other exchanges describe The Godfather allegedly offering to organize a boat to help transport drugs, introducing the traffickers to other officials, and admitting to helping other traffickers in the past.

Speaking at his daily press conference Friday, …

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