Mexican cop warned drug cartel of surveillance
Feds: Commander identified informant
A former high-ranking commander in the Mexican Federal Police, who served as the agency’s point of contact with American law enforcement, stands accused of leaking details about DEA investigations to drug cartel members who were under surveillance, according to U.S. federal authorities.
Ivan Reyes Arzate is charged with conspiracy to corruptly obstruct, influence and impede an official proceeding, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois announced Wednesday.
Authorities said the 45-year-old former lawman warned members of the Beltran Leyva drug cartel when the Drug Enforcement Administration tapped their phones and at one point identified a person who had been cooperating with the DEA to gather evidence on the cartel.
According to a criminal complaint filed in the case, a confidential law enforcement source said he had witnessed meetings between Mr. Reyes and drug cartel leader Arturo Beltran Leyva before his 2009 death.
The source said Mr. Reyes received part of a $3 million bounty paid by the Beltran Leyva cartel for identifying a DEA informant, who was later kidnapped, tortured and killed on orders from Arturo Beltran Leyva.
Authorities said Mr. Reyes’ actions first garnered attention in September, as U.S. and Mexican authorities were investigating a network of high-level cartel members responsible for transporting tons of cocaine from Colombia to Mexico and, ultimately, to the United States.
The complaint states that Mr. Reyes provided a copy of a photo taken as part of law enforcement surveillance to an alleged Mexican drug trafficker when Mr. Reyes informed the man he was the principal target of an investigation.
Information Mr. Reyes shared with the gang members mirrored information that the DEA had provided to him earlier.
In November, as members of the cartel discussed obtaining information about U.S. authorities’ investigations, one member referred to a source who had provided information in the past as “Ivan,” who others later called “the boss.”
“The United States and Mexico have a long history of close cooperation in combatting transnational organized crime,” said Joel R. Levin, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. “The criminal complaint announced today is the first step in holding Mr. Reyes accountable for attempting to impede that bilateral cooperation by allegedly obstructing a significant investigation for personal gain.”
Mr. Reyes is being held in Chicago, authorities said. He is expected to appear in court next week.
The announcement of charges against him came the same day that a federal judge in the District of Columbia, sentenced a top leader in the Beltran Leyva drug cartel to life in prison.
Alfredo Beltran Leyva, brother of Arturo Beltran Leyva, was one of the leaders of the Beltran Leyva organization and helped the cartel move tons of cocaine and methamphetamine into the United States.
He was sentenced to life in prison and ordered to forfeit $530 million.