LA Hearing for Ex-Mexican Defense Minister Delayed


US-MEXICO-POLITICS-ARREST-CHARGE

US-MEXICO-POLITICS-ARREST-CHARGE

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The initial federal court hearing for a former Mexican defense minister arrested at Los Angeles International Airport on drug trafficking and money laundering charges was delayed until Tuesday.

Salvador Cienfuegos -- Mexico's defense minister from 2012 to 2018 -- was arrested Thursday night after arriving at the airport with several family members, becoming the first high-ranking military official to be taken into custody in the United States in connection with drug-related corruption in his country.

An indictment unsealed Friday in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn accused the 72-year-old retired general of four counts of drug trafficking and money laundering, alleging he allowed a drug-trafficking cartel to operate in Mexico in exchange for bribes.

Cienfuegos, nicknamed El Padrino, or The Godfather, was arrested by U.S. authorities at the request of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Cienfuegos appeared Friday by video from a downtown Los Angeles detention facility, but U.S. Magistrate Judge Alexander MacKinnon delayed the hearing until Tuesday.

Federal prosecutors in New York City are requesting that the magistrate judge order Cienfuegos transported to the Eastern District of New York to face trial.

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