What to Know
- Ivan Reyes Arzate, a former top commander in the Mexican Federal Police, faces a drug conspiracy indictment in Brooklyn
- U.S. prosecutors allege Arzate took bribes from a cartel in exchange for information on investigations
- Arzate was already in U.S. custody on separate charges
Ivan Reyes Arzate, the former commander of the Mexican Federal Police’s Sensitive Investigative Unit (SIU), is accused in a federal indictment of providing assistance to Mexican drug cartels in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, prosecutors say.
Arzate is charged in a three-count indictment with international cocaine distribution conspiracy, conspiracy to distribute and possess cocaine, and conspiracy to import cocaine, according to papers filed by the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s office.
Arzate, already in custody after pleading nolo contendere in 2018 to federal obstruction of justice charges, allegedly provided protection for the drug activities of several Mexican drug cartels including El Seguimiento 39, a cartel associated with the Sinaloa Cartel, prosecutors say.
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Between 2008 and 2016, Arzate was the highest ranking officer of the SIU and the principal point of contact for information sharing between Mexican and U.S. law enforcement officers assigned to the SIU.
Arzate allegedly used his position to assist the cartels funnel cocaine into the U.S., including New York City, prosecutors say.
In one instance cited in court papers, Arzate is accused in 2016 of sharing with the leaders of the El Seguimiento 39 cartel information about a pending DEA investigation in exchange for a $290,000 bribe.
Arzate will appear in federal court in Brooklyn later Friday.