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He Was Mexico’s Defense Chief. The U.S. Says He’s a Drug Dealer

Salvador Cienfuegos nabbed in L.A., charged with trafficking


Photographer: Rashide Frias/AFP via Getty Images

From the outside, General Salvador Cienfuegos, with his stern visage, ramrod salute and beribboned chest, presented the image of a front-line warrior against drug traffickers.

As Mexico’s defense chief from 2012 to 2018, he directed his forces to brutally corner cartel chiefs and stealthily move patrol vehicles in pursuit of heroin shipments. Under his watch, Mexican marines arrested infamous kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman twice in two years.