BROOKLYN, NY: Mexican drug lord “El Chapo” Guzman paid a $100 million dollar bribe to Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in 2012, according to explosive testimony in Federal Court by Chapo’s former personal secretary Alex Cifuentes. Cifuentes was testifying in Brooklyn Federal Court in “El Chapo”‘s federal drug trafficking trial in New York City.
Cifuentes was under cross examination by Chapo’s lawyer Jeffrey Lichtman. He was referring to previous discussions he had with federal investigators. The $100 million dollar bribe was paid in October of 1012. This was after Pena Nieto was elected President, but before he had taken office.
Pena Nieto had demanded $250 million in bribes
In a shocking further development, Lichtman asked Cifuentes if he had told federal investigators that Pena Nieto had actually received a bribe of $250 million dollars. But Cifuentes corrected him. $250 million was what Pena Nieto had initially demanded.
“I told them (the authorities) that Chapo had been requested an amount of money (by Pena Nieto), but he had offered a different amount, and that he paid that money,” Cifuentes testified.
Former President Calderon bribed by the Beltran/Leyva Cartel
Lichtman had stated in his opening statements that El Chapo and the Sinaloa cartel had not only bribed Enrique Pena Nieto but also his predecessor, President Filipe Calderon, who was President of Mexico from 2006 – 2012. Pena Nieto just handed over power last month to current Mexican President Lopez Obrador.
Cifuentes was hazy on remembering specific payments to Calderon. But in 2016 he told federal agents that rival Mexican drug lords, the Beltran/Leyva Cartel, had been paying off Calderon for years.
Mexican Federal Police worked with Sinaloa and Beltran Leyva Cartels
Cifuentes stated that at one point after the bribe had been paid that Mexican authorities told El Chapo he was safe to come out of hiding. “They wanted to work with him,” he said.
He said Mexican Federal Police trafficked drugs for both the Sinaloa Cartel and the Beltran/Leyva Cartel on a regular basis. Crooked cops would be alerted to certain shipments of illicit cargo and pick them up.
“And they would sell the drugs,” Lichtman asked. “Yes”, Cifuentes responded.
The farce of the war on drugs: A tale of Presidential bribery
So now we see why the war on drugs has aways been such a farce. So much for help from our friends in Mexico. Enrique Pena Nieto turned out to not just a corrupt mafioso President, but a particularly greedy one at that.
So lets get this straight. Apparently, each of the drug cartels was paying the Mexican President multi-million dollar bribes. This is an institutional corruption stretching back through a series of Mexican Presidents.
So if Pena Nieto and Calderon were getting hundred million dollar bribes, then in all likelihood Calderon’s predecessor, Vincente Fox, was as well. The truly astonishing thing its that Pena Nieto had the Don Corleone audacity to ask for $250 million dollars.
The war on drugs: Hopelessly corrupt
This is why Mexico can never be an honest broker in these affairs. This is why the Federal Police are hopelessly compromised and corrupt. Meanwhile the drugs pour across our southern border with impunity. How can the power of the cartels be curbed when they are partners with the very government, and its President, that are supposed to be our partners in this fight. Its disturbingly cynical, but not surprising.
Current President Lopez Obrador, a committed lifelong leftist, may be cut from a different bolt of cloth. It could be a new era for American drug policy. Don’t hold your breath.
Where is the accountability for Pena Nieto and Calderon
But Cifuentes testimony in this John Gotti of drug trafficking trials points out any number of disturbing elements. No wonder El Chapo operated with impunity. No wonder the traffickers are frequently twos steps ahead of the DEA in Mexico. For the record Pena Nieto denies ever recieving bribes from El Chapo. But of course he does.
Whatever El Chapo’s fate, the three previous Mexican Presidents must be held to account for their crimes. For bribery and conspiracy with international drug traffickers. It is a sober lesson in the complexities of leaving our Southern border at the mercy of murderous cartels, especially when they are protected by the Mexican Government.