Arrest of normal shatters belief in Mexican navy
“Those that act like criminals,” the overall mentioned, studying from ready remarks, “those that disrespect individuals, those that disobey — not solely are they breaking the regulation however usually are not worthy of belonging to the armed forces.”
On the time, Cienfuegos Zepeda was reacting to a video exhibiting a number of troopers torturing a suspect. The video of the crying lady, sitting on the ground along with her arms tied behind her again, had gone viral in Mexico, tarnishing the status of a military that had been more and more utilized by then President Enrique Peña Nieto and his predecessor, Felipe Calderón, for regulation enforcement functions, particularly for Mexico’s battle on medicine.
Cienfuegos Zepeda, who served 54 years within the Mexican armed forces, is accused of taking bribes in change for permitting a Mexican drug cartel, recognized for ugly acts of violence, to function with impunity in Mexico.
The arrest of normal Cienfuegos Zepeda has shaken not solely the armed forces but additionally the belief Mexicans have had within the navy for generations.
Native and federal police forces misplaced the belief of the Mexican individuals a very long time in the past. In any case, Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, aka “The Godfather,” chief of the Guadalajara Cartel at its peak within the Eighties and blamed for the homicide of DEA agent Enrique Camarena in 1985, began his profession as a federal police agent.
For 20 years, presidents have entrusted anti-narcotics enforcement to the navy — from right-wing Vicente Fox within the early 2000s, to his successor, Felipe Calderón, who declared a battle on drug cartels in the beginning of his presidency in 2006, to the Enrique Peña Nieto and the present president, leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
They’ve finished so exactly as a result of the armed forces have been perceived as reliable and incorruptible. For a lot of Mexicans, the arrest of normal Cienfuegos Zepeda, who additionally served as director of Mexico’s Heroic Army School, probably the most prestigious of its form, poses a tough query: Now what?
Ramón Celaya Gamboa, a retired lieutenant colonel who works as a navy regulation professor, mentioned the arrest of a former Mexican Secretary of Protection is just not solely “unprecedented” however an enormous blow to the Mexican authorities and its armed forces.
“The only detention of normal Cienfuegos has already had a powerful influence within the media,” Celaya Gamboa instructed Newpaper24. “It impacts the military’s credibility as a complete and it additionally impacts the credibility of the Mexican authorities. It reinforces the picture many have overseas of Mexico as a rustic of drug traffickers.”
In Mexico Metropolis, the arrest turned dialog matter primary in a single day. To many Mexicans, the Cienfuegos Zepeda case strikes on the coronary heart of Mexico’s struggle towards drug trafficking and transnational legal organizations which have managed to deprave authorities officers on the highest ranges.
Arturo Alcántara, 38, a psychologist, thought of the arrest “one thing detrimental relating to Mexico’s picture and relating to Mexico’s struggle towards corruption.”
“If in the long run it is confirmed that Cienfuegos is responsible, which means one of many those who was in control of the Mexican battle on medicine was corrupted by organized crime,” Alcántara mentioned.
Others, like accountant Alejandro Barrera, 34, have a let’s-wait-and-see angle.
“This gentleman has to undergo the entire authorized course of, and let’s hope that he is not a guinea pig simply because he is a excessive political goal,” Barrera mentioned. “They should first reveal he is responsible and, if that is the case, he must be punished.”
Jesús Esquivel, U.S.-based correspondent who writes for the Mexican weekly “Proceso,” says the overall’s arrest didn’t shock him. Esquivel has investigated corruption throughout the Mexican police and armed forces for years, and he says he had realized by way of sources in regards to the upcoming arrest of a high-profile former Mexican official, a narrative he didn’t publish to keep away from compromising the investigation.
“He [Cienfuegos Zepeda] is being linked with the Beltrán-Leyva legal group, which dominated [the Mexican state of] Guerrero, trafficking cocaine, heroin and marijuana to the New York area when he was an officer in Mexico’s Ninth Army Area,” Esquivel mentioned. “That is why the case’s jurisdiction will fall upon the Brooklyn federal courtroom.”
Attain of Mexican legal teams
Esquivel, the Mexican journalist, says Cienfuegos Zepeda might have loads of data he could also be keen to Share with federal prosecutors, given he was ready to know attainable hyperlinks between legal organizations and the higher echelons of the Mexican authorities throughout a number of administrations.
“What we do not know is whether or not the US Division of Justice goes to supply a plea deal in order that the overall might turn into a cooperating or protected witness, and that is what we’ll see as soon as he seems in entrance of the Justice of the Peace in Brooklyn, New York,” Esquivel mentioned.
Mike Vigil, who served as Particular Agent in Cost of the DEA’s Caribbean and San Diego Divisions, says Cienfuegos Zepeda’s arrest is a evident instance of the power and attain that transnational Mexican legal organizations have, particularly in the case of their energy to bribe.
“Drug cartels in Mexico, together with the Sinaloa Cartel and Jalisco New Era, have turn into very highly effective,” Vigil instructed Newpaper24. “They’re making some huge cash, and it is extremely straightforward for them to bribe high-ranking officers.”
Vigil additionally says this high-profile arrest illustrates an absence of belief between regulation enforcement businesses in Mexico and the US.
“This investigation was carried over throughout a few years and there was no coordination with Mexico as a result of Cienfuegos had many contacts inside the federal government,” Vigil mentioned. “Had he been knowledgeable he was a goal of an investigation, he would’ve by no means been captured as a result of he would’ve by no means come to the US. The formal grievance was sealed till his Thursday arrest in Los Angeles.”
At a July 2015 ceremony in Mexico Metropolis, the place he acquired a prestigious award for his many years of service, normal Cienfuegos Zepeda mirrored on each Mexican’s duty to create a greater nation.
“We should always ask ourselves, what are we doing to result in peace? What sort of nation are we hoping to depart for the following generations of Mexicans?” Cienfuegos Zepeda rhetorically requested these in attendance. “Extra particularly, what sort of Mexico do we would like?”