Mexico’s former top cop convicted of drug trafficking

Mexico’s former top law enforcement official was convicted Tuesday of taking millions of dollars in bribes in exchange for aiding the country’s most ruthless drug cartel — which he was tasked with combatting.

Genaro García Luna – who previously led Mexico’s Federal Investigation Agency and later served as the country’s public security minister – was found guilty by a Brooklyn federal court jury following three days of deliberations.

Prosecutors said Luna, 54, protected cocaine shipments the Sinaloa Cartel — once headed by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman — made through Mexico, tipped off drug traffickers to law enforcement operations and protected cartel members from arrest in exchange for the dirty cash.

“He kept taking dirty money and cocaine kept flowing into the United States,” Assistant US Attorney Philip Pilmar told jurors at the opening of the trial in January. 

“While he was expected to work for the Mexican people, he had a second job, a dirtier job, a more profitable job,” the prosecutor added. 

Garcia Luna
Garcia Luna was convicted in the same court as El Chapo Guzman.
AFP via Getty Images

At the four-week trial, prosecutors relied heavily on former cartel members who testified about the bribes Luna took in exchange for law enforcement protection. 

The jury convicted Luna of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, international cocaine distribution conspiracy and other related charges.

He faces a maximum of life in prison and a minimum of two decades behind bars. 

The conviction came in the same federal court where El Chapo was convicted in 2019 of drug trafficking and other crimes and sentenced to life in prison. 

Garcia Luna
Garcia Luna previously served as the top law enforcement official in the violent crime-ravaged country.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

US Attorney Breon Peace lauded the conviction in a statement Tuesday afternoon. 

“Garcia Luna, who once stood at the pinnacle of law enforcement in Mexico, will now live the rest of his days having been revealed as a traitor to his country and to the honest members of law enforcement who risked their lives to dismantle drug cartels,” Peace said. 

“It is unconscionable that the defendant betrayed his duty as Secretary of Public Security by greedily accepting millions of dollars in bribe money that was stained by the blood of Cartel wars and drug-related battles in the streets of the United States and Mexico, in exchange for protecting those murderers and traffickers he was solemnly sworn to investigate,” he added.

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