Thursday, May 23, 2024

Security officials expose García Luna’s ‘7 horsemen of the apocalypse’

Last week, Deputy Security Minister Ricardo Mejía Berdeja exhibited the criminal structure that operated under former federal security minister Genaro García Luna, who was arrested in Texas in 2019 due to possible collusion with the Sinaloa Cartel. The exposure comes just in the lead up to García Luna’s upcoming trial in the United States.

García Luna was security minister from 2006-2012 under former president Felipe Calderón, where he was heavily involved in the strategy behind Mexico’s “war on drugs.” Previously, García Luna was the director of the now-defunct Federal Investigation Agency (AFI). He will face trial in the U.S. in New York in January for alleged collusion with the Sinaloa Cartel and using shell companies to traffic drugs to the U.S.

During President López Obrador’s regular morning press conference on Thursday, Mejía Berdeja showed a photo of a group of individuals who, in 2006, were under the command of García Luna. They called themselves “the seven horsemen of the apocalypse.” Prior to this, in 2001, he oversaw a group referred to as “the 12 apostles” within the AFI.

The conference slide of showing García Luna with others alleged to have collaborated in corrupt acts.
The conference slide of showing García Luna with other high-up offiicals alleged to have collaborated in corrupt acts. (Presidencia de la República / Screenshot)

The members, accused of receiving bribes from the Sinaloa Cartel, were all high-ranking members of the federal police. Mejía Berdeja claims that the criminal structure within public security began in 2001 and extended until 2018.

The corruption within the federal police has been used to legitimize the creation of the National Guard and its involvement in public security tasks.

In October, U.S. prosecutors presented additional evidence against García Luna, including records related to narcotics trafficking and pay stubs from his time as a government official demonstrating that his fortune did not result from his official position.

In total, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has presented more than 1 million pages of documents, as well as photos and videos, demonstrating García Luna’s links to the Sinaloa cartel. He was also accused of participating in a money-laundering scheme in which he moved US $50 million worth of bribes to international tax havens.

García Luna has pleaded not guilty to all charges, which include four counts of conspiracy and collusion with the Sinaloa cartel to traffic drugs to the U.S.

He was also among the officials Mexican authorities charged with involvement in the “Fast and Furious” weapons smuggling case in January. This triggered the Mexican government to request extradition, which was denied.

Multiple people who made up the “seven horsemen” were implicated in the Fast and Furious case. They include Luis Eduardo “N”, García Luna’s second-in-command and then-head of the Regional Security division; Facundo “N”; and Ramón Eduardo “N,” a former official in the federal police’s anti-drug and intelligence divisions who was also implicated in Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzman’s escape from prison in 2015.

Mejía Berdeja emphasized the implications the range of this criminal collusion within the group will have. For example, Tomás Zerón de Lucio, whom Mexico is trying to extradite from Israel for allegations related to the Ayotzinapa case, was a regional security official under Eduardo “N” during this time.

The judicial process will begin on Jan. 9.

If García Luna is found guilty, he could face between 20 years and life in prison. The trial is also expected to expose the depth of corruption within the Mexican government.

With reports from Proceso and Insight Crime

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