Mexican authorities announced the arrest of seven federal government employees who allegedly aided and abetted the Sinaloa drug cartel, headed by notorious fugitive Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman.
In a press conference Wednesday, the head of the Seido organized crime unit of the Attorney General’s Office, Jose Cuitlahuac Salinas, said three of the detainees worked for Seido and another for the Supreme Court.
He only identified two of the suspects: Supreme Court employee Juan Carlos de la Barrera Vite and the Seido’s Manuel Arroyo Hernandez, who, according to two protected witnesses, told the cartel he had a close relationship with Attorney General Marisela Morales.
“It’s obvious that’s a lie,” Salinas said, noting that corrupt public servants often claim to have close ties with top public officials and access to privileged information.
In August, the Supreme Court announced the arrest of De la Barrera Vite - who worked for Justice Sergio Valls - for alleged links to the Sinaloa cartel.
It said then that at no time was that institution’s “sensitive information” or substantive work compromised and noted that in recent years the suspect only performed administrative tasks in the personnel area.
On Tuesday, the Reforma newspaper reported that the Sinaloa cartel had infiltrated Siedo by purportedly paying several employees to provide information on investigations into the cartel.
Salinas said Wednesday that a probe launched in February led to the arrest of the seven suspects.
Referring to the purported arrest last Friday of Alejandrina Gisselle Guzman Salazar, El Chapo Guzman’s daughter, while she was attempting to cross from Tijuana, Mexico, into San Diego, California, Salinas said U.S. authorities have not officially communicated anything to their Mexican counterparts.
El Chapo Guzman, who escaped from a maximum-security prison in January 2001 and remains at large, appears on Forbes magazine’s list of global billionaires.