Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Ex-president Calderón has ‘doubts’ about García Luna conviction

Former president Felipe Calderón has expressed doubt about the conviction of his erstwhile security minister on drug trafficking charges because the case against him was “based on testimony from confessed criminals.”

A jury in the United States last month found Genaro García Luna – security minister in the 2012-18 government led by Calderón – guilty of colluding with the Sinaloa Cartel.

A banner is displayed in the Chamber of Deputies, accusing Calderon of collusion with the Sinaloa Cartel.
Many in Mexico, particularly those in opposition parties, believe that PAN president Calderón was aware of García Luna’s cartel connections. (Daniel Augusto/Cuartoscuro)

Among those who testified against García Luna were cartel figures such as Jesús “El Rey” Zambada, brother of current Sinaloa Cartel leader Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, and Sergio “El Grande” Villarreal Barragán as well as former Nayarit attorney general Edgar Veytia, who in 2019 was sentenced to 20 years in jail in the U.S. for drug trafficking.

In Madrid, Spain, on Monday, Calderón described himself as a “man of the law” and said he respects rulings handed down by courts as long as they “act in accordance with the law.”

However, he added that he had “a lot of doubts” about García Luna’s guilty verdict.

“I would have expected to see what the prosecutors announced [they would present]: videos, recordings, photographs, bank statements, deposits, but the truth is none of that was shown,” the former president told reporters at a tourism and aviation event in the Spanish capital.

“Everything was based on testimony from confessed criminals, the majority of whom we pursued, captured and extradited during our government,” he said.

Calderón also said that the Mexican government is using García Luna’s conviction to ramp up its “persecution” of him.

“It’s clear that in Mexico there is political and media persecution against me. They’re even trying to use the ruling to exacerbate the persecution – it’s almost personal on the part of the government,” he said.

President López Obrador claims that the conviction of García Luna – who has yet to be sentenced – is proof of the existence of a “narco-state” during the Calderón administration.

On the same day that the jury reached its guilty verdict, the former National Action Party president asserted that he had “fought with complete determination against crime” and “never negotiated with nor made pacts with criminals.”

Calderón, who launched a militarized war on cartels shortly after he took office in late 2006, also claimed that he was tougher on organized crime than any other president, combating “all [groups] that threatened Mexico including the so-called Pacific Cartel,” as the Sinaloa Cartel is also known.

With reports from Reforma, Aristegui Noticias, Milenio 

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