Former president Felipe Calderón’s public security secretary was arrested in the United States on Monday on charges that he allowed the Sinaloa Cartel to operate in exchange for multimillion-dollar bribes.
Genaro García Luna, who was in charge of the Federal Police between 2006 and 2012 and a key figure in the implementation of the war on drugs launched by Calderón, was detained in Dallas, Texas, United States prosecutors said in a Brooklyn court on Tuesday.
“García Luna stands accused of taking millions of dollars in bribes from ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán’s Sinaloa Cartel while he controlled Mexico’s Federal Police force and was responsible for ensuring public safety in Mexico,” said attorney Richard P. Donoghue.
The “arrest demonstrates our resolve to bring to justice those who help cartels inflict devastating harm on the United States and Mexico, regardless of the positions they held while committing their crimes.”
An indictment unsealed on Tuesday said that García Luna “received millions of dollars in bribes from the Sinaloa cartel in exchange for providing protection for its drug trafficking activities.”
The ex-official, who prior to serving as public security secretary headed up the now-defunct Federal Investigation Agency, allegedly provided the cartel with security that allowed it to freely move drugs to the northern border and supplied confidential information about government investigations and other criminal organizations.
Sinaloa Cartel bagmen personally delivered payments to the former official in briefcases that contained between US $3 million and $5 million, the indictment said.
Jesús Zambada, a former Sinaloa Cartel operations chief, first made that allegation late last year during the trial of Guzmán in New York. García Luna rejected the claim, stating it was a “lie” and amounted to “defamation.”
However, the indictment said that “financial records obtained by the [U.S.] government” showed that “by the time García Luna relocated to the United States in 2012, he had amassed a personal fortune of millions of dollars.”
United States prosecutors also said the 51-year-old Florida resident lied about his past criminal involvement with the Sinaloa Cartel when he applied for U.S. citizenship in 2018. If convicted of receiving cartel bribes, García Luna faces a prison sentence of between 10 years and life.
Calderón responded to the news of his arrest in a Twitter post.
“I’m finding out via social media [about] the presumed arrest of Genaro García Luna. I don’t know the details and I’m awaiting information that confirms the event as well as the charges he is accused of. My position will always be in favor of justice and the law.”