The ex-defence minister was detained at the request of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), a spokesperson for the DEA confirmed later.
"US Ambassador Christopher Landau told me that former Defense Minister Gen Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda had been detained at the airport of Los Angeles, the state of California", Ebrard wrote on his Twitter page on late Thursday.
He sido informado por el Embajador Christopher Landau de los Estados Unidos que el ex Secretario de la Defensa Nacional, Gral. Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, ha sido detenido en el Aeropuerto de Los Angeles, California.— Marcelo Ebrard C. (@m_ebrard) October 16, 2020
Cienfuegos Zepeda is the latest former senior official from Mexico to be detained after Mexico's former Secretary of Public Security Genaro Garcia Luna was arrested in December 2019 by federal agents in Dallas, Texas. In July, the United States indicted him and two senior associates in a cocaine trafficking conspiracy.
Cienfuegos Zepeda had headed the Mexican Defense Ministry in 2012-2018.