MEXICO CITY—Mexico stated Thursday it’ll not permit officers accused of corruption to be attempted in the USA, a transfer that might finish a decades-old custom through which maximum of Mexico’s high-profile drug-trafficking and corruption circumstances were attempted north of the border.
On the other hand, the level of the brand new coverage was once unclear, and officers urged some extraditions may proceed.
There was once no speedy remark from U.S. officers on Mexico’s bombshell observation, but it surely got here at some point after the U.S. dropped a high-profile drug trafficking and cash laundering case in opposition to a former Mexican protection secretary.
The announcement suggests the fallout from the arrest of former Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos — which enraged Mexico when the Justice Division introduced it final month — is a long way broader than up to now recognized.
“Whoever is culpable in step with our rules shall be attempted, judged and if acceptable sentenced in Mexico, and now not in different international locations, and that’s the foundation which has been inspired with this settlement,” stated Overseas Members of the family Secretary Marcelo Ebrard. “That’s what has been mentioned, what has been agreed and what has been maintained with U.S. government.”
U.S. officers have given no trace that the settlement went past the Cienfuegos case, and the White Space didn’t reply to questions concerning the topic or Ebard’s feedback Thursday.
Ebrard’s observation was once now not transparent on whether or not Mexico would proceed extraditing accused drug traffickers to stand fees in U.S. courts, because it has carried out steadily up to now, or whether or not he was once handiest regarding officers accused of participating with drug gangs.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Division of Justice asked that drug trafficking and cash laundering fees in opposition to Cienfuegos be pushed aside and that he be returned to Mexico within the pastime of keeping up cross-border cooperation. That call got here after experiences that Mexico had threatened to expel the Drug Enforcement Management’s regional director and brokers.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador denied that Thursday, announcing, “We did not threaten anyone. All we did was once specific our confrontation.”
“We didn’t threaten to expel the brokers. We stated we need to be told and for the cooperation agreements to be revered,” López Obrador stated, including, “I feel it’s an injustice for blameless other people to be placed on trial.”
“You can not permit international companies to check out Mexicans if there’s no evidence,” stated López Obrador, who depicted it as a countrywide sovereignty factor. “Simply because they’re different international locations’ felony establishments, does that cause them to the homeowners of justice and rectitude.”
Cienfuegos was once returned to Mexico Wednesday and was once promptly launched.
Ebrard vowed that the investigation into Cienfuegos can be “worthy of Mexico’s status and dignity.” However all the means of notifying Cienfuegos of the investigation and processing him again into the rustic took handiest a few part hour, a long way much less time than the common traveler spends in customs and immigration.
Ebrard gave the impression to be acutely aware of the wear to Mexico’s recognition if Mexican prosecutors, as many be expecting, fail to convey their very own fees in opposition to Cienfuegos.
“It will be very pricey for Mexico, to have determined to have this dialog with the USA, to succeed in the shedding of fees in opposition to a former cupboard secretary for the primary time in historical past, … for him to be returned to Mexico, after which later do not anything,” Ebrard stated. “That might be virtually suicidal.”
The overall scope of Mexico’s force was once now not transparent and U.S. officers have been obscure about what led them to drop fees in a case they’d celebrated as a significant leap forward simply final month, when federal brokers nabbed the retired normal in Los Angeles.
Two officers, one Mexican and one American, stated Mexico’s ways concerned threatening to expel the Drug Enforcement Management’s regional director and brokers until the U.S. dropped the case. However they stated that was once handiest a part of the negotiation. They wouldn’t elaborate.
The officers requested to not be named as a result of they weren’t licensed to talk publicly concerning the case.
A pass judgement on in New York Town licensed the dismissal of fees on Wednesday, capping a lightning-fast turnaround in a case that drew loud protests from best Mexican officers and threatened to wreck the subtle courting that permits investigators in each international locations to pursue drug kingpins in combination.
Cienfuegos, 72, was once secretly indicted by way of a federal grand jury in New York in 2019. He was once accused of conspiring with the H-2 cartel in Mexico to smuggle hundreds of pounds of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana whilst he was once protection secretary from 2012 to 2018.
Prosecutors stated intercepted messages confirmed that Cienfuegos authorized bribes in change for making sure the army didn’t take motion in opposition to the cartel and that operations have been initiated in opposition to its opponents. He was once additionally accused of introducing cartel leaders to different corrupt Mexican officers.
Mexican officers complained that the U.S. did not proportion proof in opposition to Cienfuegos and that his arrest got here as a wonder. It additionally brought about alarm inside Mexico’s army, which has performed a an important function in operations in opposition to drug cartels.
Mexico depicted Cienfuegos’ unlock as a victory for the rustic’s sovereignty and its call for to be handled as an equivalent spouse by way of the USA, a putting place for the reason that maximum suppose that Mexico’s court docket gadget — and corrupt officers — are the vulnerable hyperlinks within the nation’s combat in opposition to drug trafficking.
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