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Former Mexico army chief arrested in US on drug trafficking charges

MEXICO CITY: Former Mexican defence secretary General Salvador Cienfuegos, who led the country’s army for six years under former president Enrique Peña Nieto, has been arrested on drug trafficking and money laundering charges at Los Angeles International Airport.

Two people with knowledge of the arrest said Cienfuegos was taken into custody on a US Drug Enforcement Administration warrant. One of the people said the warrant was for drug trafficking and money laundering charges. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss the case publicly.

Former Defence Secretary General Salvador Cienfuegos, left, and Mexico's former president Enrique Pena Nieto, salute during the annual Independence Day military parade in Mexico City's main square.

Former Defence Secretary General Salvador Cienfuegos, left, and Mexico’s former president Enrique Pena Nieto, salute during the annual Independence Day military parade in Mexico City’s main square. Credit:AP

Mexico’s Foreign Minister, Marcelo Ebrard, wrote on his Twitter account that US Ambassador Christopher Landau had informed him of the retired general’s arrest and that Cienfuegos had a right to receive consular assistance.

A senior Mexican official, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorised to give details of the case, said the retired general was arrested when he arrived at the Los Angeles airport with his family. His family members were released and he was taken to the Metropolitan Detention Centre.

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