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Tension in Mexico over trial of former security official

Tension in Mexico over trial of former security official

Mexico City, Jan 24 (Prensa Latina) The trial in New York against Genaro García Luna, Mexico's former security chief under the government of Felipe Calderón, enters its second day today with increased tension.

Expectations are high in Mexico because of García Luna’s association with two of Mexico’s most questioned former presidents, Calderón (2006-2012) and his predecessor, Vicente Fox (2000-2006), both from the National Action Party (PAN), as was seen on the first day of the trial with an important witness, former police officer and drug trafficker Sergio El Grande Villarreal Barragán.

This organized crime boss said in his first appearance yesterday that he has been committing crimes since 2001 during the Fox administration, and then continued with the Calderon administration, and even with Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018), but already from the United States.

In his statements he did not implicate any of the three, but shortly before, assistant prosecutor Phillip Pilmar accused Calderon’s former top public security official of accepting millions of dollars from a cartel to allow the transfer of tons of cocaine to the United States, which the witness later confirmed.

Villarreal Barragan detailed multiple occasions in which he accompanied his boss Arturo Beltran Leyva (now deceased) to meetings where Garcia Luna, then head of the Federal Investigation Agency (AFI) during the Fox administration, was given approximately $1.5 million dollars each month in exchange for his protection of the Sinaloa Cartel’s business.

These payments were usually, he said, in 100-dollar bills packed inside a black ‘chorizo’ suitcase.

He also received 14 to 16 million from the Gulf Cartel to release a two-ton cocaine shipment that had been seized.

The witness said that at that time the defendant received fabulous gifts from Arturo Beltrán Leyva, including a special edition Harley Davidson motorcycle.

He denounced that García Luna’s participation was key in the growth of the Sinaloa cartel, both in the control of territory and in the volume of its drug trade and also in ‘eliminating our rivals’.

He detailed that the accused, in exchange for bribes, ‘gave us information about operations… he helped us to have or remove agents in Mexico, he shared information to help us hit rivals’. Without his support, it would have been impossible for the cartel to grow,’ he repeated several times, leading the prosecution to claim that the former security secretary betrayed both Mexico and the United States.

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