Former Mexican Drug Tsar Convicted of Assisting Cartel

Genaro Garcia Luna

A former Mexican officer in charge of fighting drug traffickers has been convicted of corruption in the United States due to his ties to the Sinaloa cartel.

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn alleged that Genaro Garcia Luna collected millions of dollars in payments from the cartel once controlled by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in exchange for immunity from arrest, safe passage for cocaine shipments, and information about upcoming law enforcement operations.

Nine convicted cartel members who agreed to collaborate with prosecutors’ investigation and testified about the bribes the former drug tsar received testified during a four-week trial. Prosecutor Saritha Komatireddy told the jury that the cartel could not have supplied cocaine without his involvement.

In her final statement, Komatireddy claimed that Guzman and two other high-ranking Sinaloa cartel executives paid payments to the defendant in exchange for protection.

Komatireddy said that Garcia Luna had “used his official government position to make millions of dollars for himself from the people he was supposed to prosecute”.

Garcia Luna, who had pleaded not guilty, is among the highest-ranking Mexican politicians ever charged with drug trafficking connections. He managed the Federal Investigation Agency of Mexico from 2001 to 2005 and has been the minister of public safety since 2006. As part of former President Felipe Calderon’s cartel campaign, he cooperated closely with US counter-narcotics and intelligence organizations.