Former Mexico security chief ‘who accepted millions of dollars from El Chapo to protect his Sinaloa Cartel’ may avoid trial as he negotiates plea deal.
Genaro García Luna is negotiating with federal U.S. prosecutors in New York
Mexico’s former secretary of public security from 2006 to 2012 pleaded not guilty last Friday at a court in Brooklyn
The 51-year-old is accused of accepting millions of dollars and protecting El Chapo’s old Sinaloa Cartel
A court document obtained by the New York Times and Mexican newspaper El Universal indicates both sides will negotiate between January 3 and January 20
García Luna was arrested December 10 in Dallas and charged with drug trafficking conspiracy and making false statements
He could face up to life in prison if convicted
A former Mexican government official who was allegedly bribed by Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán is reportedly cooperating with federal prosecutors in New York.
According to a court document obtained by Mexican newspaper El Universal and the New York Times, Genaro García Luna could admit to having received millions of dollars from the Sinaloa Cartel while El Chapo was at the helm of the transnational criminal organization.
The document states that García Luna and the United States Department of Justice agreed to defer the trial which was due to begin between January 3 and January 20 so that both sides could negotiate.
‘The parties seek the exclusion of the foregoing period because they are engaged in plea negotiations, which they believe are likely to result in disposition of this case without a trial,’ signed court papers indicated.
Genaro García Luna, who was Mexico’s former secretary of public security from 2006 to 2012, is in negotiations with federal United States prosecutors after he was arrested December 10 in Dallas and charged with drug trafficking conspiracy and making false statements. García Luna has been accused by the U.S. of taking millions of dollars in bribe payments from El Chapo’s old Sinaloa Cartel and protecting the group
The documents were signed January 3, the same day the 51-year-old entered a not guilty please through his translator at a hearing in federal court in Brooklyn.
The U.S. Department of Justice said García Luna took in millions of dollars to protect the Sinaloa Cartel and allowed it operate with impunity.
While Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán (pictured) was in control of the Sinaloa Cartel, his organization allegedly paid millions of dollars to Genaro García Luna, a former top Mexican government official
U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Kuo ordered Garcia Luna detained after Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin Reid called him an ‘unacceptable risk of flight’, citing his alleged contacts with the Sinaloa cartel.
The defendant’s court-appointed lawyer said he would seek bail later.
García Luna, who had moved to Florida and was living there before his arrest, has been charged with drug trafficking conspiracy and making false statements, and faces up to life in prison if convicted.
He was arrested December 9 in Dallas but agreed to face the charges in Brooklyn, where El Chapo was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole last year for smuggling tons of drugs to the United States in a colorful, decades-long career.
Genaro García Luna (right) reportedly received a suitcase containing $3 million in 2005 or 2006, and got another $3 million to $5 million in 2007 from an associate of El Chapo
García Luna wore handcuffs, tan pants and a gray sweatshirt in the courtroom, with a pair of glasses hanging from his neckline.
Kuo agreed to delay the case so the parties could negotiate what Reid called a ‘potential disposition’ without the need for a trial, language that often signals a future guilty plea.
A lawyer for García Luna who could not attend Friday’s hearing did not immediately respond to a request for comment. U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan, who oversaw El Chapo’s trial, scheduled a Jan. 21 status conference for García Luna.
Once considered a leader in Mexico’s efforts to reduce drug trafficking, García Luna led that country’s Federal Investigation Agency from 2001 to 2005 and was secretary of public security from 2006 to 2012.
But prosecutors said the Sinaloa Cartel bribed García Luna throughout his time in government to ensure safe passage for its drugs, and to obtain information about rival cartels and Mexican probes into its activities.
García Luna had been the subject of testimony at El Chapo’s trial by Jesus Zambada, the brother of the jailed drug kingpin’s partner Ismael ‘El Mayo’ Zambada.
Jesus Zambada said he had given García Luna a suitcase containing $3 million in 2005 or 2006, and paid him another $3 million to $5 million in 2007.
García Luna at the time rejected the accusations, calling them ‘defamation’ and without proof.
Source: Daily Mail