Thursday, June 13, 2024

Ex-security chief indicted in US won’t negotiate plea: lawyer

Former public security secretary Genaro García Luna will not take a plea deal in the case against him in a U.S. federal court on charges that he accepted millions of dollars in bribes from the Sinaloa Cartel, according to a defense attorney.

García “adamantly denies that he accepted any bribes” and is “very much looking forward” to fighting the charges, attorney Cesar de Castro said on Tuesday.

He said his client was in “very good spirits” despite being incarcerated since his arrest in Dallas, Texas, in December. García entered a plea of not guilty in a Brooklyn federal court on January 3.

De Castro’s statement came after a court hearing in which prosecutors were urged to hand over evidence to the former security chief’s defense.

Due to the large amount of documentation involved — much of which will come from outside the United States — prosecutors requested that the case be classified as “complex.”

García’s defense could be complicated by Mexico having blocked access to his bank accounts, de Castro said.

Prosecutors claim that García accepted millions of dollars in bribes — in the form of briefcases full of cash — in exchange for allowing the cartel headed by Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán to operate with impunity in Mexico.

Former Sinaloa Cartel member Jesús Zambada testified at Guzmán’s New York trial that he himself bribed García with at least US $6 million at the behest of his brother, cartel boss Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada.

Prosecutors say the Sinaloa Cartel smuggled tons of drugs to New York and other U.S. cities, including the federal district that covers Queens and Brooklyn.

García served as head of Mexico’s Federal Investigations Agency (AFI) from 2001 to 2005, and was former president Felipe Calderón’s public security secretary from 2006 to 2012. He was living in Miami, Florida before his arrest in December.

Source: NBC News (en)

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