Biden administration downplays US probe into Mexican president

Biden administration downplays US probe into Mexican president

The Justice Department and the Biden administration have minimized a report stating that US law enforcement spent several years investigating claims that supporters of Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, received millions of dollars from drug cartels after he assumed office.

López Obrador, who refuted the claim, also responded to the article in the New York Times on Thursday by sharing the contact information of the journalist, Natalie Kitroeff, from their Mexico bureau. This included her phone number, which prompted an investigation by Mexico’s freedom of information agency (INAI).

As stated by the INAI, the president mentioned a probe by the previously mentioned global newspaper and publicly stated the correspondent’s phone number during the event.

A representative from the US justice department informed the New York Post that there is currently no inquiry into President Lopez Obrador. Similarly, White House national security council spokesman John Kirby reaffirmed the justice department’s stance, stating that they are obligated to thoroughly examine any accusations.

According to The New York Times, the investigation in the US revealed evidence suggesting connections between criminal drug organizations and individuals with close ties to the president, which they referred to as “advisers and officials”.

According to the paper, US law enforcement agencies did not initiate a formal inquiry into López Obrador, also known as Amlo. This was due to their belief that the US government was not interested in pursuing accusations against the leader of one of America’s closest allies.

The president of Mexico refuted the accusations as entirely untrue. He stated that the news of the investigation would not have any impact on Mexico’s relationship with the US, however, he anticipates a response from Washington.

The recent report from The New York Times comes after other articles from InSight Crime, ProPublica, and Deutsche Welle were published last month. These articles discussed a separate US-led investigation into financial ties between the Sinaloa cartel, under the leadership of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, and a top aide to López Obrador during his unsuccessful 2006 presidential campaign.

According to ProPublica, this case brings up complex concerns about the extent to which the United States should address the official corruption that has played a crucial role in the rise of Mexican drug traffickers as a major international criminal threat.

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Leading up to Mexico’s national elections in June, there have been reports of cartel-linked corruption within President López Obrador’s inner circle. This has caught the attention of opposition groups. Pressure has been mounting on the Biden administration to address illegal immigration from Mexico to the US, which is often facilitated by smugglers associated with cartels. There is also concern about the importation of dangerous fentanyl produced by cartels.

Reporters Without Borders reports that 46 journalists have lost their lives in Mexico under the leadership of López Obrador. The organization states that Mexico continues to be one of the most perilous and lethal nations for journalists. They also claim that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has been in power since 2018, has not yet implemented the necessary changes and actions to put an end to the increasing violence against the press.

After disclosing the journalist’s information and reciting a letter from editors for their response to the accusations, López Obrador challenged the Biden administration to either support or deny the ongoing investigations. “This is noteworthy because the United States government will now be forced to reply,” he stated, as reported by the Hill.