Former prime Mexican official Garcia Luna convicted of taking hundreds of thousands in bribes from cartel


NEW YORK — A former prime legislation enforcement official who oversaw Mexico’s efforts to fight narcotics trafficking was convicted Tuesday of taking hundreds of thousands in bribes from the Sinaloa drug cartel.

Genaro García Luna, who headed the equal of the FBI in Mexico, was charged in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn in 2019 with performing as an enabler for the cartel, which is infamous for partaking in rampant violence to maintain its operation working.

After a month-long trial that started in January, a jury discovered Garcia Luna responsible on all 5 counts in an indictment that included his alleged involvement in an ongoing felony enterprise, worldwide cocaine distribution and drug-related conspiracies.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Saritha Komatireddy mentioned in closing statements that Garcia Luna was “a smart, ambitious, powerful and self-serving politician” who accepted hundreds of thousands of {dollars} “from the very people he was supposed to prosecute.”

Garcia Luna took bribe cash “in briefcases, in duffel bags, in boxes full of cash,” Komatireddy mentioned. He additionally hand-delivered cocaine for the group, tipped them off to anticipated legislation enforcement actions, and helped arrest and kill members of rival cartels.

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Garcia Luna was a degree of contact for officers within the U.S. who handled Mexico in efforts to thwart narcotics trafficking. He ran the Federal Investigation Agency from 2001 to 2005 and was the nation’s secretary of public safety from 2006 to 2012.

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During the trial, 25 witnesses have been referred to as by the prosecution — together with a number of high-level members of the Sinaloa group, whose chief was tried and convicted in the identical U.S. courthouse in 2019.

“These witnesses were close to the top,” Komatireddy mentioned to jurors. “High up enough to know about the cartel’s most sensitive and important government relationships, including its relationship with the defendant.”

Garcia Luna’s lawyer, Cesar de Castro, informed jurors the prosecution’s case relied totally on the testimony of criminals. “Nothing backs up what these killers, torturers, fraudsters, and epic narcotics traffickers claimed about Genaro Garcia Luna,” he mentioned throughout closing arguments.

De Castro mentioned the prosecution’s witnesses have been motivated by the promise of leniency in their very own authorized issues and the opportunity of beginning new lives within the U.S. with the federal government’s help.

In drug instances, prosecutors steadily depend on the testimony of cooperating witnesses who’re additionally concerned within the felony exercise.

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