Genaro García Luna, former Mexican public safety secretary, convicted in US of taking bribes from drug cartels | CNN

New York

Genaro García Luna, Mexico’s former public safety secretary and architect of its lethal and protracted struggle on medication, was discovered responsible in federal court docket in New York on Tuesday of taking bribes from the drug cartels he had sworn to fight, the US Lawyer’s Workplace mentioned.

The previous Secretary of Public Safety in Mexico, who served as his nation’s equal of the FBI director from 2006 to 2012, was convicted by a federal jury in Brooklyn on 5 counts of partaking in a seamless prison enterprise. The counts included worldwide cocaine distribution conspiracy, conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine, conspiracy to import cocaine and making false statements, in accordance with the US Lawyer’s Workplace for the Jap District of New York.

García Luna, 54, confirmed no emotion as the decision was introduced. At one level, he circled briefly to take a look at his spouse, daughter and son, and positioned his fingers over his coronary heart.

He’s the highest-ranking present or former Mexican official ever tried in america.

His trial earlier than US District Choose Brian M. Cogan, who additionally oversaw the trial of former Sinaloa Cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, lasted 4 weeks. The Jap District of New York jury introduced the decision after 15 days of testimony from practically 30 witnesses.

García Luna had pleaded not responsible to all prices.

Protection legal professional César de Castro, who argued that prosecutors constructed their case on the testimony of ruthless criminals, mentioned outdoors court docket {that a} resolution on whether or not to attraction the conviction might be made after sentencing.

Garcia Luna might be sentenced June 27. He faces a compulsory minimal sentence of 20 years’ in jail and a most of life behind bars.

“Garcia Luna, who as soon as stood on the pinnacle of regulation enforcement in Mexico, will now stay the remainder of his days having been revealed as a traitor to his nation and to the trustworthy members of regulation enforcement who risked their lives to dismantle drug cartels,” Breon Peace, US Lawyer for the Jap District of New York mentioned in an announcement.

Jesus Ramirez Cuevas, a spokesperson for Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, praised the decision on Twitter: “The crimes towards our individuals won’t ever be forgotten.”

Throughout trial, a rating Mexican regulation enforcement witness described García Luna because the “finest funding” for the Sinaloa drug cartel, enabling it – in accordance with prosecutors and testimony – to increase operations by alerting traffickers to raids and offering cartel members with public safety uniforms, credentials, autos and brokers to assist unload shipments and to even perform assaults on rivals.

“It’s unconscionable that the defendant betrayed his obligation as Secretary of Public Safety by greedily accepting thousands and thousands of {dollars} in bribe cash that was stained by the blood of Cartel wars and drug-related battles within the streets of america and Mexico, in alternate for safeguarding these murderers and traffickers he was solemnly sworn to research,” Peace mentioned.

García Luna was arrested in December 2019 by federal brokers in Dallas, Texas, and charged in a drug trafficking conspiracy that concerned taking thousands and thousands of {dollars} in bribes from Guzman, who’s serving a sentence of life in jail plus 30 years.

A former cartel chief testified at Guzman’s trial about multimillion-dollar bribes that he and others paid García Luna within the mid-2000s, in accordance with court docket paperwork.

The proof towards García Luna included testimony from rating cartel bosses, who testified that his brokers acted as bodyguards and escorts for traffickers. In return, prosecutors mentioned in an announcement, he was paid in US forex, generally in $100 payments in thick bundles of $10,000. The money can be stuffed in suitcases, briefcases and duffel baggage.

The bribes have been delivered to García Luna at numerous places, together with a Mexico Metropolis protected home with a false wall to cover the money and at a French restaurant throughout the road from the US Embassy within the Mexican capital.

The trial shed little gentle on how a lot US authorities officers knew about García Luna ties to drug traffickers.

García Luna moved to america in 2012 and settled in Florida with a private fortune of thousands and thousands of {dollars}, in accordance with prosecutors. He allegedly submitted an software for naturalization in 2018 and lied about his previous prison acts.