The former top Mexican defense official was arrested in Los Angeles on Monday, in connection with a drug trafficking and money laundering scheme, Mexican officials confirmed to the New York Times.
Gilberto Antonio Mendoza Loera was captured at Los Angeles International Airport while flying in from a trip to Brazil. He and other high-ranking members of the Mexican Department of Defense (SEDENA) have been linked to a transnational organized crime network that has financed drug trafficking, murder and extortion in Mexico and elsewhere.
The National Security Commission (CNS) said in a statement that Los Angeles is the “residual” of the corruption ring they had established as part of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s first-term government.
Mr. Mendoza was placed under house arrest in Mexico City on Tuesday.
The Mexican government has already tried and convicted several politicians and high-ranking police officers in a bid to dismantle the criminal syndicate, which was fronted by a former L.A. Police Department and FBI official, Joel Castro. The federal government was forced to accept responsibility for the justice system when it granted amnesty to Castro.
Mr. Mendoza, who is said to be one of the crown leaders of the criminal group, is expected to remain in custody pending trial. He is suspected of helping lead an extensive criminal network that includes drug traffickers and corrupt Mexican, Colombian and Brazilian officials.