The close ties that the United States has been slowly building with the Mexican military have taken a huge blow with the news that former Defense Minister General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda was arrested shortly after arriving at Los Angeles International Airport. 

The government alleges that Cienfuegos assisted the H-2 cartel, which was previously led by the late Juan Francisco Patron Sanchez. The cartel was based in Nayarit and Sinaloa, Mexico.

Cienfuegos, who was Mexico’s Defense Minister from 2012 to 2018 was arrested on warrants from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). He is facing four counts in the Eastern District Court of New York. These include: international heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana manufacture and distribution conspiracy; importation and distribution conspiracies; and conspiracy to launder narcotics proceeds.

“The defendant abused [his] public position to help the H-2 Cartel, an extremely violent Mexican drug trafficking organization, traffic thousands of kilograms of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana into the United States, including New York City,” the U.S. government released in a statement.