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García during his tenure as Mexico's top security official. García during his tenure as Mexico's top security official.

Ex-security chief facing drug charges built a small fortune over 6 years

Genaro García appeared in court in Texas on Tuesday, where he was described as 'a bundle of nerves'

Former president Felipe Calderón’s public security secretary, arrested on Monday for allegedly taking multimillion-dollar bribes from the Sinaloa Cartel, built a small fortune in just six years.

Declarations of assets filed by Genaro García Luna with the Secretariat of Public Administration (SFP) between 2002 and 2008 show that his wealth increased fivefold in the period.

As director of the now-defunct Federal Investigation Agency, García declared in 2002 that he had annual income of 1.73 million pesos and owned two houses worth 450,000 and 522,000 pesos as well as shop premises valued at 214,000 pesos.

He also said he owned a Harley-Davidson motorcycle worth almost 195,000 pesos and that he had 265,000 pesos in the bank.

As public security secretary six years later, García declared annual income of 3.82 million pesos – more than double his 2002 income – and said he owned a 310-square-meter house worth 7.55 million pesos. He didn’t provide any information about vehicles he owned or how much money he had in the bank.

The Florida home where García moved after leaving Mexico in 2013.
The Florida home where García moved after leaving Mexico in 2013.

Tax authorities never asked García to explain the rapid increase in his personal wealth.

The newspaper El Universal, which had access to the declarations of assets, said the home declared by García in 2008 is located in Jardines de la Montaña, an upscale residential area in the southern Mexico City borough of Tlalpan.

In the years between 2002 and 2008, García declared the purchase and sale of several properties and informed the SFP that he owned a Land Rover Discovery SUV and two Mustangs.

Between 2009 and 2012 – the final four years that he served as Calderón’s security secretary – García didn’t provide updated information about his wealth, El Universal reported.

At the conclusion of his six-year tenure as secretary, a period during which he was a key architect of the so-called war on drugs, García moved to Miami, Florida, where he rented a US $3.3-million mansion. He also rented a US $2.2-million penthouse in Aventura, Florida.

The United States indictment against García, unsealed on Tuesday, said that Sinaloa Cartel bagmen personally delivered payments to the former official in briefcases that contained between US $3 million and $5 million.

It also said that he 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.

During a brief appearance in a federal court in Dallas, Texas, on Tuesday, García was a “bundle of nerves,” El Universal reported, adding that his image as the strongman of Mexico’s security policy was a distant memory. Dressed in jeans and a sweater, the 51-year-old listened intently to a translation of the charges against him.

He remained serious and taciturn throughout the 10-minute hearing before being led out of the court to be transferred to a local prison. García wasn’t required to enter a plea.

He faces another hearing in the same court on Tuesday but a trial would be held in the New York court where drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán was found guilty in February.

In a Twitter post Tuesday, ex-president Calderón denied any knowledge of García’s alleged collusion with the Sinaloa Cartel and said that he was “deeply” surprised by the accusations against him.

Source: El Universal (sp) 

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