Former Mexican Attorney General Arturo Chavez Chavez is suspected by the U.S. government of having assisted drug cartels to hide their illegal activities, according to recent Wikileaks reports.
The reports are based on communications between the U.S. ambassador to Mexico and the U.S. State Department.
Ambassador Carlos Pascual wrote in a 2009 message that Chavez offered "a helping hand" to some drug cartel leaders while he was attorney general of the Mexican state of Chihuahua from 1996 to 1998, according to Wikileaks.
The suspicions focused on murders of young women in Juarez City that were believed to be linked to drug cartels. The cartel leaders were never prosecuted for the killings.
Chavez was appointed to the job of Mexico's attorney general in 2009 but resigned his post on March 31, 2011, citing personal reasons.
The September 2009 message, called a cable, from Pascual was issued about the same time of Chavez's nomination on Sept. 7, 2009 to become attorney general.
Pascual's cable said the Mexican president poorly researched Chavez's background and selected him from only a small group of candidates. The cable said the nomination of Chavez was "unexpected and inexplicable."
It also said that although Chavez came to the job with strong credentials as a lawyer, he was not well-prepared to defend his actions before Mexican lawmakers.
His nomination was harshly criticized by human rights activists and the families of women murdered in Juarez City.
During his nomination hearing before the Mexican Senate, Chavez said he opposed the death penalty and legalization of marijuana.
His nomination was confirmed by the Senate with 75 votes in favor and 26 against it.
President Calderon said after Chavez resigned that his work as attorney general was "fundamental to Mexico's efforts to establish rule of law." He also said Chavez played a key role in the arrests and prosecutions of drug cartel leaders.
Calderon appointed Marisela Morales, head of the organized crime department in the Office of the General Prosecutor, to succeed Chavez.
Wikileaks is an Internet-based investigative news site that obtained thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables from an unnamed source that it started releasing in batches last November.
Some of the cables have caused embarrassing international incidents for the U.S. government for criticisms of foreign governments, including the way Mexico has conducted its war against drug cartels.
The latest major event in the 4-1/2-year-old drug war was the arrest Tuesday of Jesus "Chango" Mendez, reputed head of the "La Familia" drug cartel.
He was arrested by Mexican federal police in the central Mexican state of Aguascalientes. He also is wanted in the United States.
The arrest of Mendez "destroys the command structure of the criminal organization," according to a statement from a Mexican government spokesman.
La Familia is a cult-like cartel that perceives itself as the protectors of residents of the southern state of Michoacan. Most of the people the gang is accused of murdering have consisted of rival cartel members.
However, La Familia also is accused of trafficking in illegal drugs, such as methamphetamines, marijuana and heroin.
The arrest of Mendez is a "great blow by the Federal Police against organized crime," Calderon said in a posting on Twitter.
Mendez was "one of the most-wanted criminals" in Mexico, Calderon said.
Mendez was arrested nine years ago in the city of Apatzingan as a suspect in the murder of rival gang members but was released shortly afterward without explanation.
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