Mexico City, Mexico — “AMLO says he wants to eliminate corruption in Mexico, but protects Cienfuegos,” says a former United States DEA member. Mike Vigil, who participated in the agency’s investigations, said he was not surprised by the decision made by the Attorney General’s Office.
“I knew they were not going to process him,” he said. Vigil criticized the FGR’s (Fiscalía General de la República) exoneration of Mexico’s former Secretary of Defense, Salvador Cienfuegos.
Vigil was critical of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and the crusade that, he claims, he leads against corruption. “They talk about wanting to eliminate corruption in Mexico and now they are protecting a corrupt official,” he said in an interview with Aristegui Noticias.
The former DEA employee, who participated in the investigations against Cienfuegos, also referred to the president’s statements, who described the agency’s work as “unprofessional”.
“We tracked communications between two members of the Beltrán Leyva group, H2. They said that ‘The Godfather’ was on television. We looked for the channel and General Cienfuegos was speaking and then, with the communications that were intercepted, we found out that it was Enrique Peña Nieto’s Secretary of Defense. Everything I’m saying is proven,” he remarked.
During his Friday press conference, López Obrador affirmed that the evidence presented by the agency “was fabricated”.
Vigil did not say he was surprised by the decision of the Prosecutor’s Office as he said he “knew very well that they would not prosecute” Cienfuegos if the former federal official was sent to Mexico.
“It makes me very curious. What kind of investigation did the FGR do in a few weeks to conclude that there is no evidence against General Cienfuegos? I guarantee that if he had been prosecuted here in the United States, he would have been convicted,” he said.
On Thursday, the Prosecutor’s Office reported that it decided not to take criminal action against the former head of the Ministry of Defense.
Cienfuegos was arrested on October 15, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. The Donald Trump administration insisted that he was a dangerous criminal, in the service of organized crime, and with a protection network at the highest level.
However, on November 18, the United States government itself decided to drop the charges against Cienfuegos.
The FGR explained that the DEA began in 2013, without the knowledge and without the collaboration of the Mexican administration, an investigation of drug-related crimes that involved General Cienfuegos. The investigation continued during this administration without having informed Mexican authorities.