Ex-Mexican drug czar is going through trial on expenses of aiding El Chapo

Ex-Mexican drug czar is going through trial on expenses of aiding El Chapo

Ex-Mexican drug czar is going through trial on expenses of aiding El Chapo

By Luke Cohen

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Opening statements are set to start on Monday within the U.S. trial of a onetime Mexican legislation enforcement official answerable for a crackdown on drug trafficking, who’s now accused of taking bribes from the highly effective Sinaloa cartel.

Genaro García Luna headed Mexico’s Federal Investigation Company from 2001 to 2005 and was Minister of Public Safety from 2006 to 2012, throughout which period he labored intently with US anti-narcotics and intelligence businesses.

He pleaded not responsible in 2020 to US expenses that he accepted thousands and thousands of {dollars} to guard the cartel as soon as run by imprisoned drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn stated Garcia Luna offered the Sinaloa cartel with delicate details about its rivals in addition to protected passage for drug shipments. He faces 5 counts, together with persevering with felony enterprise and conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

García Luna, arrested in Texas in 2019, is likely one of the highest-ranking Mexican officers accused of aiding drug cartels, and there’s appreciable hypothesis in Mexico about whether or not the trial might embarrass former officers, even former presidents. .

García Luna ran public safety beneath former President Felipe Calderón, who despatched Mexico’s armed forces to fight drug gangs and clampdown on organized crime on the heart of his 2006-2012 administration.

Incumbent President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Calderon’s opponent, final Wednesday urged the general public to attend and see.

“It’ll all come out,” he instructed a information convention, including that U.S. officers needs to be referred to as to testify in the event that they had been concerned within the incident beneath investigation.

After García Luna’s arrest, Calderon expressed deep grief and issued an announcement saying he was utterly unaware of what his former safety minister had allegedly achieved.

Former President Garcia referred to as for the “full drive of the legislation” to be utilized in convicting Luna.

$3 million in a suitcase

Through the eight-week trial, prosecutors plan to name former senior cartel members to testify about bribes paid to Garcia Luna, courtroom papers present.

García Luna has beforehand accused drug traffickers of perjury in retaliation for actions taken in opposition to the cartels. His legal professionals stated in courtroom papers that their consumer had “no property to talk of” after transferring to the US in 2012, however later earned cash from his work as a safety marketing consultant.

Throughout Guzman’s trial in 2018, the brother of considered one of his companions testified that he gave Garcia Luna a suitcase containing $3 million in 2005 or 2006 and paid her one other $3 million to $5 million in 2007. Garcia Luna referred to as the allegations on the time “defamatory” and with out proof.

Guzman was sentenced to life in jail in 2019 after being convicted of drug trafficking and conspiracy to commit homicide in Brooklyn. He’s being held in a high-security “supermax” jail in Colorado.

The Mexican authorities issued an arrest warrant of its personal for Garcia Luna in 2020 on expenses of illicit enrichment. Mexico has additionally sued Garcia Luna in Florida, the place he was dwelling earlier than his 2019 arrest, in an effort to recuperate what it calls ill-gotten wealth. The case is ongoing.

(Reporting by Luke Cohen in New York; Further reporting by Lizbeth Diaz in Mexico Metropolis; Modifying by Nolin Walder and Alistair Bell)

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