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L.A. judge considers Cienfuegos flight risk, denies bail

Los Angeles, California — The former Mexican Secretary of Defense, Salvador Cienfuegos, has been denied bail in a Los Angeles federal court after being deemed a flight risk. His lawyer, Duane Lyons, told the judge that his client was not a flight risk, but determined to clear his name.

“He is a dedicated Mexican general who served his country honorably for a number of years, and, if he were to be released on bail and flee, his name and reputation would be ruined,” Lyons told U.S. District Judge Alexander MacKinnon. However, the judge was not convinced saying that the possibility of the 72-year-old spending the rest of his life in prison was incentive to flee.

On that, Cientuegos, who offered his “life savings” of $750,000 USD, was denied bail.

Judge Alexander MacKinnon announced that on Friday, he will sign the order to transfer Cienfuegos to New York where the former defense secretary is accused of three drug trafficking offenses and one money laundering. The transfer will take place within two to three weeks.

On orders from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda was arrested October 15, at the Los Angeles International Airport for drug trafficking and money laundering that court documents say, occurred between December 2015 and February 2017.

The retired Major General, Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda served as head of Sedena from December 1, 2012 to November 30, 2018 during the six-year term of then-president Enrique Peña Nieto.