MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A former top police official once seen as vital to Mexico’s battle against drug cartels was arrested on Monday on charges of torturing suspected kidnappers in 2012, Mexican authorities said.
Luis Cardenas Palomino, with the Federal Police from 2010 to 2012, was the next-in-command to former Security Minister Genaro Garcia Luna, who was arrested in the United States in 2019 on charges of taking bribes to help the Sinaloa cartel.
Both served in those roles under former President Felipe Calderon, whose so-called war on drugs unleashed gang territory disputes that led to record levels of violence.
Cardenas and another former law enforcement officer were charged during an indictment of Garcia Luna in October, despite both being at large.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador at a regular news conference shortly after the arrest described Cardenas as Garcia Luna’s “second” and said the detention underscored his administration’s zero-tolerance approach to impunity.
Officials arrested Cardenas early on Monday after searching a building in Naucalpan, a suburb north of Mexico City, the Attorney General’s office said in a statement. The statement did not detail the case for which Cardenas was accused of torturing suspects of a kidnapping.
(Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon and Lizbeth Diaz; Editing by Drazen Jorgic and Richard Chang)