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Former Mexican security chief received ‘millions of dollars in bribes’ from cartel, US court hears | Mexico

The trial of a former Mexican law enforcement officer began Monday in a Brooklyn courthouse in one of the most serious drug trafficking cases since the drug lord’s prosecution. Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Over 4 years ago.

Genaro García Luna, who ran Mexico’s version of the FBI, was accused of war with drug trafficking groups before he was appointed head of the country’s Ministry of Security. take millions of dollars in bribes In exchange for giving protection to the violent Sinaloa Cartel.

That protection has allowed the cartel, led by El Chapo, to import tons of drug shipments into the United States while avoiding capture by authorities, according to U.S. prosecutors. It surfaced during El Chapo’s own trial, which ended in 2019.

On Monday, both the prosecution and the defense presented their opening arguments before the jury, providing a sense of how the blockbuster trial will play out.

A woman holding a sign stands near a television reporter in front of a federal courthouse in Brooklyn, N.Y., Monday. Photo: Justin Lane/EPA

Prosecutors focused on Garcia Luna’s role in allegedly enabling the Sinaloa Cartel to smuggle large amounts of drugs into the United States. , claims it allowed some gang members to roam freely.

“Defendants took millions of dollars in bribes over and over again,” government attorney Philip Pilmer said in opening arguments in Brooklyn federal court.

“He is a man who betrayed his country and ours,” the prosecutor added, as Garcia Luna watched from the dock and even kissed his wife and daughter.

A former Mexican police chief has pleaded not guilty to five counts ranging from 10 years to life in prison.

Garcia Luna’s attorney, Cesar de Castro, denied the allegations, stressing that there was no evidence that U.S. officials directly linked his client to the bribery allegations.

“There is no money, no photos, no videos, no texts, no emails, no recordings, no documents. Stated. He described the incident as a “very public display of outrage” by the US government for abandoning its former drug-fighting partner.

De Castro said the cartel members, who are set to stand up after pleading guilty and agreeing to cooperate with the government, will reduce their sentences to government officials they see responsible for their arrests. He claimed that he was only trying to exact revenge.

“Don’t let the cartels play you,” he told the jury.

Court case in the spotlight Mexicohas threatened to end a decades-long drug war that has caused more than 300,000 murders since then-President Felipe Calderón sent troops into the streets to confront cartels in 2006.

The strategy, which received considerable support from Washington, was led by Garcia Luna, who headed Mexico’s Ministry of Security until 2012. It helped extend technology and surveillance contracts in Mexico.

Law enforcement corruption in Mexico is widely publicized, but this case shows just how much U.S. officials knew about Garcia Luna’s backroom deal, and why they did little to stop it. There is a danger that the spotlight will be cast on

according to pro publicainvestigators had evidence pointing to Garcia Luna’s collusion with the Sinaloa Cartel going back to 2012 – before he resigned. ProPublica reports that despite filing, the request for prosecution has been repeatedly denied.

Witnesses in El Chapo’s trial told the court that he gave Garcia Luna a briefcase containing millions of dollars in cash as part of a deal between the then-security minister and the Sinaloa Cartel in 2019. It was the year.district New York That December he began compiling the evidence that led to Garcia Luna’s arrest.

The former security minister’s trial is expected to last eight weeks.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jan/23/mexico-genaro-garcia-luna-trial-brooklyn-drug-cartel Former Mexican security chief received ‘millions of dollars in bribes’ from cartel, US court hears | Mexico

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