One of Mexico’s most influential military personnel, retired General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, has been detained at Los Angeles airport in the United States.
This was done on the orders of the antinarcotics agency DEA. The 72-year-old former defence secretary is alleged to have been involved in drug trafficking and money laundering, according to media.
He was a minister under President Enrique Peña Nieto from 2012 to 2018.
The arrest was made public in Mexico City by Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard Casaubón. He did not say what the ex-general is accused of. The DEA has not commented on this either.
Cienfuegos began his military career in 1964 at the age of 15 and finished it as a defence minister a few years ago. He was also politically active.
The arrest could lead to more prosecutions of former top figures in Mexico, according to observers. It could embarrass current president Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
He says he is cracking down on corruption, but the army and navy are among the few institutions in the country that are still trusted by the population.