Ex-Mexican officer changes plea in Chicago; sentencing next

May 11, 2018 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) — An ex-commander of a Mexican intelligence unit who worked with U.S. agents has changed his plea to no contest in a Chicago case alleging he traded secrets to Mexico’s Beltran Leyva cartel.

Ivan Reyes Arzate’s plea in Chicago federal court Friday means his June 11 trial is off. The 46-year-old faces a maximum 25-year prison term at his Aug. 29 sentencing.

His lawyer, Joe Lopez, says the no-contest plea to obstruction and conspiracy to obstruct justice is acknowledgement prosecutors would win at trial but doesn’t concede all their facts are right. One dispute is prosecutors’ claim Arzate unmasked an informant.

Lopez portrays the case as a clash of law-enforcement cultures. He says Mexican investigators often meet investigative targets and Arzate “doesn’t think he did anything wrong under the Mexican model.”