Former Mexican Defense Secretary Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos was arrested Thursday in Los Angeles on a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration warrant, a spokeswoman for the agency told Reuters.
U.S. and Mexican officials told The Associated Press Cienfuegos was detained at Los Angeles International Airport on drug trafficking and money laundering charges. Cienfuegos, 72, served for six years under former President Enrique Peña Nieto, leading the armed forces through December 2018. This high-profile arrest is "going to have a powerful impact in Mexico," military affairs analyst Raul Benitez told Reuters.
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard tweeted that U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau notified him of the arrest and Cienfuegos will be offered "the consular assistance to which he is entitled."
Last year, Genaro Garcia Luna, security minister under ex-President Felipe Calderon, was arrested in Texas on suspicion of accepting millions of dollars in bribes from a drug cartel.