Ex-Mexican drug minister found guilty of international cocaine trafficking
Genaro Garcia Luna, former champion of the fight against drugs, now faces life imprisonment.
Former Mexican minister Genaro Garcia Luna, a former champion of the fight against drugs in his country, was convicted on Tuesday by American justice of corruption and cocaine trafficking between Mexico and the United States and faces imprisonment to life.
He is the most senior Mexican official to have been tried by federal justice in New York, in the war against the drug cartels of Central and South America who take advantage of the complicity of local ministers to flood the North American market.
The 12 jurors in the Brooklyn court found this former Minister of Public Security under Mexican President Felipe Calderon (2006-2012) guilty on five counts, including receiving millions of dollars to protect the Sinaloa Cartel and being involved in trafficking at least 53 tons of cocaine from Mexico to the United States from 2001 to 2012.
Justice has been served, spokesman for the current Mexican presidency, Jesus Ramirez, said on Twitter.
Before becoming minister, Garcia Luna, mechanical engineer by trade, was from 2001 to 2005 a police officer and head of the intelligence agency against corruption and organized crime.
His wife and their two children were present at the statement of the verdict in the face of which the former minister remained visibly unperturbed.
After several days of deliberation and a month-long trial, Garcia Luna – who did not say a word during the trial – was found guilty on all five counts and is now a convicted felon. , welcomed the powerful federal prosecutor's office in Brooklyn.
Garcia Luna, who was once the pinnacle of law enforcement in Mexico, will now live out the rest of his life as a traitor to his country and the dedicated law enforcement who risk their lives to dismantle cartels. drug, thundered federal prosecutor Breon Peace, quoted in a press release.
The sentence, which can range from several years in prison to life imprisonment, will be known in principle on June 27.
From mid-January to mid-February, the prosecution had called 26 prosecution witnesses, including 9 accused or convicted for drug trafficking, extradited to the United States to stand trial and work with the judiciary to obtain reduced sentences.
Prosecutors had asked the jury to get to know these repentant criminals and to use common sense in convicting [Garcia Luna]: a 54-year-old two-faced man, Minister of Drugs who collaborated with Washington on one side; partner in crime of the Sinaloa Cartel on the other.
It was this Brooklyn court that sentenced former Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin El Chapo Guzman to life in prison in 2019. His sidekick, Colombian Dario Antonio Usuga, alias Otoniel, awaits trial in the same New York court, while former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez denies all drug trafficking charges brought against him by the x27;other New York federal prosecutor's office in Manhattan.
Genaro Garcia Luna was arrested on December 9, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. Imprisoned since, he was accused, among other things, of having received millions of dollars in bribes to turn a blind eye to cartel trafficking.
His lawyer Cesar de Castro, who argued the entire trial on the absence of evidence [that] is not evidence, promised on Tuesday, surrounded by supporters of Garcia Luna and hostile to former President Calderon, that his client would continue the fight […] to clear his name.
But without formally announcing an appeal.
Without connection with this trial, Garcia Luna is also known abroad, especially in France, because he was involved in the Florence Cassez affair: he is thus accused of having co-organized and staged the #x27;arrest in December 2005 of the young woman and her then-boyfriend, Israel Vallarta.
The couple had been accused of being part of a gang , which had damaged diplomatic relations at the time. between President Calderon's Mexico and President Nicolas Sarkozy's France.