The Mexican government threatened to kick the entire U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration out of Mexico and limit their work with the U.S. on international narcotics investigations if the U.S. didn’t drop its criminal case against ex-Mexican Defense Secretary Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, according to VICE News. Cienfuegos was arrested in Los Angeles in October and accused of accepting bribes from a drug cartel. The case was sensationally dropped by the Justice Department on Wednesday at the behest of Attorney General Bill Barr.
Although the Mexican government’s threat was never followed up on, and was what a U.S. law enforcement official described as “exaggerated,” the case was nonetheless dropped. “I hope the DOJ gets it together. We can’t do business like this. We’re embarrassed. We’re ashamed,” the official said. The official said that letting Cienfuegos off the hook could pose long-term consequences for the U.S. Barr explained in a joint statement with his Mexican counterpart that Cienfuegos was freed “so that he may be investigated and, if appropriate, charged, under Mexican law.”