MEXICO CITY – Mexico's foreign secretary said Thursday the country no longer wants officials accused of corruption to be put on trial in the United States, a move that could scale back a tradition that saw most of Mexico’s corruption cases tried north of the border.
However, a spokesman for Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the country was still willing to extradite officials or drug traffickers, walking back an earlier statement by Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard.
The flurry of exchanges came a day after the U.S. agreed to drop a high-profile drug trafficking and money laundering case against a former Mexican defense secretary, whose arrest in Los Angeles last month enraged Mexico.
Presidential spokesman Jesús Ramírez told The Associated Press extradition and other cooperation treaties between the U.S. and Mexico would be maintained, but the country wants formal information sharing and extradition processes.
"What we don’t want are surprise actions,” Ramirez said, in an apparent reference to retired Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos and other former officials who have been arrested while travelling to the United States.
Regarding drug traffickers and others whose crimes affect the United States, Ramírez said, “that justifies them being tried in the United States."
Ramírez's comments clarified a blanket declaration by Ebrard earlier Thursday saying that “whoever is culpable according to our laws will be tried, judged and if applicable sentenced in Mexico, and not in other countries.”
Ebrard also suggested that the agreement that led to the release of Cienfuegos was broader than previously known.