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Former high-level Mexican security official arrested on drug charges in US

US JUSTICE | 10 de diciembre de 2019

A photograph dated Oct. 5, 2004, shows former Mexican Federal Investigation Agency (AFI) director Genaro Garcia Luna, who also served as Mexico's public safety secretary from 2006 to 2012 and has been indicted on drug trafficking charges in the United States, during the 73rd INTERPOL General Assembly in Cancun, Mexico. EPA-EFE/Jorge Nuñez

New York, Dec 10 (efe-epa).- Genaro Garcia Luna, who served as Mexico's public safety secretary from 2006 to 2012, has been indicted on drug trafficking charges in the United States, US federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

"Garcia Luna stands accused of taking millions of dollars in bribes from 'El Chapo' Guzman's Sinaloa Cartel while he controlled Mexico's Federal Police Force and was responsible for ensuring public safety in Mexico," US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Richard P. Donoghue said.

The 51-year-old Garcia Luna was arrested by federal law enforcement agents in Dallas, Texas, on Monday.

Garcia Luna's "arrest demonstrates our resolve to bring to justice those who help cartels inflict devastating harm on the United States and Mexico, regardless of the positions they held while committing their crimes," Donoghue said.

The US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York charged Garcia Luna with three counts of conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into the United States and one count of making false statements.

Federal prosecutors said they planned to request Garcia Luna's extradition from Texas to New York, where he will be tried.

"According to the indictment and other court filings by the government, from 2001 to 2012, while occupying high-ranking law enforcement positions in the Mexican government, Garcia Luna received millions of dollars in bribes from the Sinaloa Cartel in exchange for providing protection for its drug trafficking activities," prosecutors said in a statement.

From 2001 to 2005, Garcia Luna headed the Mexican Federal Investigation Agency (AFI), which was created by former President Vicente Fox in 2001.

He served as public safety secretary from 2006 to 2012 under former President Felipe Calderon, occupying a post that gave him control over the Federal Police.

"In exchange for the payment of bribes, the Sinaloa Cartel obtained safe passage for its drug shipments, sensitive law enforcement information about investigations into the Cartel, and information about rival drug cartels, thereby facilitating the importation of multi-ton quantities of cocaine and other drugs into the United States," federal prosecutors said.

During Guzman's trial in New York, one of the witnesses, former Sinaloa cartel operations chief Jesus "El Rey" Zambada, who is imprisoned in the United States, said he had bribed Garcia Luna, telling the court that he met with the former security official twice at a restaurant and gave him cash.

Zambada said the first meeting occurred in 2005, when Garcia Luna was head of the AFI, and the second took place the next year after the official had become public safety secretary.

"Garcia Luna continued to take steps in the United States to conceal his corrupt assistance to drug traffickers. Specifically, he allegedly submitted an application for naturalization in 2018, in which he lied about his past criminal acts on behalf of the Sinaloa Cartel," federal prosecutors said.

Calderon responded to the news of Garcia Luna's arrest on Twitter, saying that he did not "know the details and was awaiting information confirming" that the arrest occurred.

The former president, who launched an all-out war on Mexico's drug cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006, tweeted that his position "will always be in favor of justice and the law."

If Garcia Luna is convicted on the drug conspiracy charge, he faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years' imprisonment and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. EFE

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