Brother of Mexican drug lord 'El Mencho' released, security ministry says

FILE PHOTO: Mexico's Security Minister Rosa Icela Rodriguez at the State Department in Washington, U.S.

By Raul Cortes

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -Mexico has released Abraham Oseguera, the brother of Mexican drug lord Nemesio "El Mencho" Oseguera Cervantes of the powerful Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), the security ministry said on Tuesday.

Oseguera, also known as "Don Rodo", was detained on April 21 by army soldiers working with the National Guard police in Autlan de Navarro, Jalisco, in what officials touted as a major blow to organized crime.

CJNG is widely viewed as the most powerful gang in Mexico alongside the Sinaloa Cartel, as both fight over lucrative smuggling routes into the United States as well as many other criminal rackets.

Security Minister Rosa Icela Rodriguez said at the president's regular press conference that Judge Rogelio Leon had "surprisingly" ordered the release of Oseguera arguing that there were no legal grounds to charge or keep him in prison.

Rodriguez, who questioned the decree issued by the judge, said the Supreme Court of Justice had been asked to intervene but did not overturn the judge's decision.

Reuters was not immediately able to contact the judge or review the documents relating to the case.

She said U.S. authorities had asked for information on legal processes or pending complaints against Oseguera as part of a binational collaboration in the fight against drugs and arms trafficking, but none had been provided.

"This is a state matter that could seriously affect the prestige of Mexico's institutions," she added.

(Reporting by Raul Cortes; editing by Stephen Eisenhammer and Michael Erman)