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RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - Mexico’s former defense minister Salvador Cienfuegos used his power in office to protect the Beltran-Leyva cartel, directing military operations against rival gangs and even finding maritime transport to ship drugs, U.S. prosecutors said.

Cienfuegos, arrested at Los Angeles airport on Thursday, October 15th, took bribes in return for protection that included warning cartel members about U.S. investigations, according to prosecutors in New York who have charged him with five counts of drug trafficking and money laundering.

The detention comes less than three weeks before the U.S. presidential election. President Donald Trump . . .

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