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Top Mexican Federal Police commander leaked sensitive info to drug cartels: Feds

April 6, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Top Mexican Federal Police commander leaked sensitive info to drug cartels: Feds

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As a top commander for the Mexican Federal Police, Ivan Reyes Arzatem who for years was trusted with the most confidential information for years regarding U.S. investigations of dangerous drug cartel traffickers, from infamous Sinaloa boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, to the violent cartel faction, Beltran-Leyva Cartel.

However last year, after classified information about a Chicago-based investigation miraculously ended up in the hands of a cartel, agents overheard a shocking discussion between drug traffickers about meeting a police officer named Ivan, the Chicago Tribune reported.

“Who is Ivan?” notorious cartel lord Angel Dominguez Ramirez Jr., said in the October 17th conversation.

“The boss,” another trafficker replied in an alleged reference to Reyes’ rank in the Mexican Federal Police.

The former member of the Mexican Federal Police was indicted in Chicago on Wednesday

On Wednesday, a 42-page criminal complaint unsealed in Chicago reported that Reyes had provided crucial information to several suspects named in the undercover probe, including an informant’s identity who later had to flee from Mexico for his safety.

The complaint asserted that during a meeting with cartel leader Arturo Beltran-Leyva in 2009, Reyes indicated the identity of another informant who was “instrumental” in guaranteeing an indictment against the cartel’s leader.

On Beltran-Leyva’s orders, cartel members later abducted, tortured and murdered the informant.

Beltran-Leyva was killed in a shootout with Mexican authorities in 2009 before he could be extradited to Chicago to face the extensive drug trafficking charges.

Reyes’ involvement, who is the highest-ranking member of the Sensitive Investigation Unit, a part of the Mexican Federal Police, stems back eight years and included many of the highest-profile drug cases to ever be brought to the U.S.

Prosecutors say Ivan Reyes Arzatem tipped off Mexican drug cartels to sensitive intelligence

Several undercover informants, including other corrupt police officials, told investigators that Reyes was awarded at least $3 million for his betrayal. He was fired from his position in November.

The case was unsealed only one week after the sitting attorney general for the Mexican state of Nayarit was apprehended at the U.S. border in California on charges he plotted with the Beltran-Leyva cartel to smuggle cocaine, heroin, and meth into the U.S.

Reyes, who went by the nickname “La Reina,” or “the Queen,” was charged in February and turned himself in after voluntarily traveling to Chicago, Joseph Fitzpatrick, a spokesperson for the U.S. attorney’s office, indicated.

Authorities first gathered their attention on Reyes last year during a probe involving Chicago and San Diego police of a Beltran-Leyva-connected drug trafficking organization that was purportedly transporting tons of narcotics from Colombia to Mexico for distribution in the U.S.

The complaint indicated that a DEA agent asked Reyes in September to help with the surveillance of several suspects in Mexico City. The agent sent Reyes a picture that had been taken in Cancun in April to help him identify the men and gave him the address of a residence where they were believed to be living and the name of a restaurant where they often gathered.

Feds have linked the police commander to the late Mexican drug lord Arturo Beltran-Leyva

The following day, that same picture was sent by someone using the screen name “Ayala” to one of the traffickers advising that the DEA was targeting him.

Ayala also warned the trafficker to stop using cell phones and switch locations if possible.

In October, authorities found texts between Dominguez, the drug lord, and an associate conversing about how the group had leverage over Reyes because his code name — La Reina — had already come up in investigative documents as that of a corrupt officer.

“We can screw ivan,” the unnamed cartel member said.

In the messages, the two assumed that the case against them was weak because it heavily relied on the testimony of one informant whom they referred to as “the dirtbag.” They also discussed multiple ways of getting the informant to “retract” the information he had provided to the government.

“If the dirt bag retracts everything, that’s how we can make this work,” Dominguez said on October 26th. “Ivan should be there waiting for the process; he can come with the gueros (law enforcement) to do the work.”

The criminal complaint alleges that Reyes and Dominguez met in person in Mexico City in November and talked about the leaked pictures.

Dominguez and one of the associates who worked with Reyes have since been charged with drug offenses in San Diego, while a third member is facing similar charges in Chicago. Both of cases remain sealed.

On February 2nd, prosecutors and Mexican Federal Police faced Reyes at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. In the meeting, he refused the allegations that he was Ayala or “otherwise being the source of the leak of the investigation,” but he did admit that he met with Dominguez in November.

Reyes said the meeting was scheduled with cartel members “to discuss reducing violence” after the murder of a federal police officer weeks earlier.

On Wednesday, Chicago’s U.S. attorney, Joel Levin, said the charges were “the first step in holding” Reyes accountable for attempting to impede what has been a successful “bilateral effort” by the U.S. and Mexico against the drug organization.

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