According to Yahoo news, in a major embarrassment for Mexican law enforcement, U.S. prosecutors said in documents made public Wednesday that the commander of a Mexican police intelligence-sharing unit was passing information on a DEA investigation to the Beltran Leyva drug cartel in exchange for millions of dollars.
Ivan Reyes Arzate, 45, was named in a U.S. district court indictment, just hours after Mexican federal police commissioner Manelich Castilla revealed that an unnamed agent had been charged with obstructing an investigation.
What Castilla did not say was that Reyes Arzate was the commander of a federal police sensitive investigative unit. The special units, known as SIUs, were formed starting in the 1990s precisely to create more secure groups that the U.S. could feel comfortable sharing intelligence with. Castilla said Reyes Arzate had been fired in November. He is in U.S. custody.
The Justice Department described Reyes Arzate as “the principal point of contact for information being shared between U.S. law enforcement and the Mexican Federal Police.”
According to the U.S. indictment, Reyes Arzate was caught on a wiretap in September telling a drug trafficker to get rid of his communications equipment because he was under investigation and his phones were being tapped.
He even sent the trafficker a surveillance photo that the Mexican police unit had taken of him. That photo — sent to a mobile device that was being tapped — was what first awoke suspicions among U.S. officials that there was a mole in the investigation.