By RICARDO CASTILLO
“We do not receive or take orders from the U.S. government,” Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) responded sharply to a reporter from the muckraking magazine Proceso on Thursday, Oct. 31. The answer referred to the recent scandal-ridden arrest and release of drug kingpin Ovidio Guzmán López two weeks ago in the city of Culiacán, Sinaloa, where López Guzmán lives
Previous to this emphatic “nothing doing with the United States” response, Public Security Secretary Alfonso Durazo Montaño also adamantly denied any involvement by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in the event.
Based on appearances, they seem to be telling the truth, since no U.S. agents participated in the affair, but there are loose ends which lead any superficial investigative reporter into asking further questions.
First and foremost is the fact that previous to the arrest and release of Guzmán López, aka “The Mouse,” there was an arrest and extradition warrant issued by a Washington federal judge charging him with conspiracy.
This was all Mexican authorities had as grounds for detaining Guzmán López, and, in fact, the entire arrest goal up was to nab him and ship him to the United States to face the charges. Apparently, there’s a lot more than sufficient evidence to indict him for the fabrication and distribution of the deadly drug fentanyl, which has become the new and most powerful scourge drug ever to hit U.S. addicts.
In this arrest, there might have been a legal breach of Mexican law because – please, this writer is no lawyer, so correct me if I’m wrong – there are extradition protocols to be followed and a chance for the arrested alleged culprit in Mexico to appeal. On the spot extradition seems to be totally out of the line of legality. A textbook example of this protocol is the humongous amount of litigation it took to extradite Guzmán López’s father, “El Chapo”.
Yet in this particular case. Ovidio López was going to be packed up and shipped out – like he apparently does with fentanyl-laden pills – directly to the United States for trial.
An additional note on the matter is that Ovidio’s lawyers – he’s got a ton of them in the state of Sinaloa in both the state’s largest cities, Culiacán and Mazatlán – have obtained an “amparo,” or no-arrest warrant, since the seizure, so he can now move around freely.
In Mexico, there are motives to put The Mouse on trial and proof of the pudding is the recent finding of a fentanyl-producing plant that was packaging pills to be shipped to the United States. Some experts claim that one way of getting them north is through the mail and package delivery services, since fentanyl is difficult to detect, even at border and airport customs facilities.
Another fact is that the entire arrest was concocted by DEA agents working out of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.
For sure, the Mexican government is trying to keep the DEA out of public sight, but their footprints are all over the trek that was followed up until the pseudo-arrest.
Of course, there are other issues in Mexico that are really more relevant but less scandalous than the Culiacán Siege affair, such as last May’s threat by President Trump to impose taxes on all Mexican exports if the government did not help in stopping the massive flow of Central Americans heading for the American Dream.
The answer to that threat was Mexico’s posting of 27,000 National Guardsmen, and it came, to use the old soldier’s expression, faster than rapid, “on the double.”
It is understandable that the AMLO administration has a lot of face to save, but promises do not respond to the fact that it is now urgent to get the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (UMSCA) approved by the U.S. Congress, which has nothing to do with the impeachment procedures currently underway against President Donald Trump. The AMLO administration is also seeking other benefits from Washington.
Which makes any statement related to denying “orders from Washington” a subject for fun newspaper cartoons.
“Washington? Never heard of it!”
Gimme a break!