Mexico agreed with US Attorney General Barr to arrest drug capo in deal for general: source

Source: Reuters Published: 2020/11/22 19:08:22

Mexico has committed to the arrest of a high-level cartel leader under a deal with US Attorney General William Barr to drop US drug trafficking charges against a former Mexican defense minister, a senior Mexican source told Reuters.

A florist arranges cempasuchil (Mexican marigold) flowers in Xochimilco, Mexico City, Mexico, on Oct. 13, 2020. The Cempasuchil flower is used in Mexico to celebrate the Day of the Dead. Photo: Xinhua

The US dropped the case against retired General Salvador Cienfuegos this week citing "sensitive and important" foreign policy considerations that outweighed interest in pursuing the charges.

In return, Mexico privately told Barr it would work with the US to arrest a high-level cartel leader involved with trafficking large quantities of the synthetic opioid fentanyl, the source said.

Reuters was unable to establish which cartel leader Mexico and US officials would be targeting and the source declined to give any names citing a fear of endangering the investigation.

It has not been previously reported that Barr extracted a promise to hone in on a senior cartel leader in return for releasing Cienfuegos.

"Mexico committed to collaborate with the US in the capture of a primary objective," said the source, who asked not to be identified in order to speak freely.

Daniel Millan, spokesman for Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, said "what we agreed was to maintain a united front against crime and cooperation that respects the sovereignty of each country."

He said he did not have information regarding an agreement about a high-level capture. A spokeswoman for the US Department of Justice said there was no deal and referred Reuters to earlier statements that said the case was dismissed in a sign of confidence in Mexican justice and because of diplomatic considerations.

The US flew Cienfuegos back to Mexico on Wednesday.
Newspaper headline: Mexico agreed with US Attorney General Barr to arrest drug capo

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