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Authorities: Top Mexico Official Helped Smuggle Drugs To US

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FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, file photo, Mexico's Defense Secretary Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda gestures as U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis listens during a reception ceremony in Mexico City. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)

(AP) – U.S. authorities allege that Mexico’s foreign defense minister helped smuggle thousands of kilograms of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana into the United States in exchange for bribes.

Court documents unsealed Friday in New York alleged that Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda acted on behalf of the H-2 cartel while defense secretary from 2012 to 2018 under former President Enrique Pena Nieto.

The post positioned Cienfuegos as a critical figure in efforts by Mexico and its allies to combat drug trafficking. He was arrested Thursday as he arrived at Los Angeles International Airport.

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