“. . . . . Ebrard told Barr he wanted to see the evidence against Cienfuegos. On Barr’s orders, Robotti and other Eastern District prosecutors hurriedly assembled a file of more than 700 pages of intercepts. They had no illusions that the information would remain secret, and they did not make any mention of the new witnesses they had found, who, officials said, included at least two traffickers who told of face-to-face meetings with Cienfuegos. In a cover letter, Shea emphasized that Cienfuegos “was never a direct investigative target of the Drug Enforcement Administration.” As the intercepts showed, he said, Cienfuegos’s name had surfaced during a routine narcotics investigation.
Ebrard read the dossier over the weekend. Before he had a chance to pick apart the evidence in his next conversation with Barr, the attorney general told him he was ready to drop the case. “I made it clear that I was willing to return Cienfuegos and was taking care of the formalities necessary to do that,” Barr wrote in his memoir. “Personally, I felt that Cienfuegos’s case was not worth scuttling any prospects of broader cooperation with the Mexicans.”
According to two officials briefed on the call, Barr asked the Mexicans not to publicly disparage the D.E.A.’s evidence against Cienfuegos and expressed his hope for the capture of Rafael Caro Quintero. But he did not receive any formal agreement on either point. “He didn’t nail down any commitment from the Mexican side,” one official said. “There were no real conditions imposed on the return.” ” . . . .
DL: So William Barr and Trump set the drug war effort back 30 years, and the next question should be, why.