Judge Luna Altamirano: dismissed. Judge Luna Altamirano: dismissed.

Federal judge fired for ‘notorious ineptitude’

Magistrate dismissed after freeing suspected narcos and amassing assets

A federal judge who freed notorious drug world figures including the son of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera has been dismissed, judicial authorities announced yesterday.

The Federal Judiciary Council (CJF), an agency that oversees Mexico’s courts, made the decision due to a string of irregularities committed by Jesús Guadalupe Luna Altamirano that freed alleged criminals.

A disciplinary committee of the CJF ruled that the judge “demonstrated a lack of professionalism, notorious ineptitude and carelessness in his judicial decisions.”

During his tenure, he freed suspected narcos Iván Archivaldo Guzmán Salazar known as El Chapito or Little Chapo, Sandra Ávila Beltrán, known as La Reina del Pacífico (The Queen of the Pacific) and Ávila’s lover, the Colombian Juan Diego Espinosa Ramírez, known as El Tigre (The Tiger).

He also exonerated Arturo Culebro Arredondado or El Tito, an alleged money launderer for the Beltrán Leyva and Colombian-based Norte del Valle cartels. It was this case that triggered the investigation.

While the CJF reached its verdict yesterday, the magistrate has been on the radar for some time.

In July 2014, the CJF reported Luna Altamirano to the federal Attorney General’s office after it was discovered he was in possession of around 13 million pesos (US $681,000) and more than US $633,000, amounts well beyond his regular earnings.

He was also accused of irregularly processing and resolving 12 sentencing appeals.

The investigation identified payments and deposits to an account in the judge’s name from unknown sources totaling almost 3 million pesos, an amount that was made up of 13 bank transfers, 46 check deposits, 62 cash deposits and nine “other” deposits.

Almost 8.5 million pesos were withdrawn from the account via check and bank transfer.

An analysis of bank records belonging to relatives and others connected to the judge, including eight people who share at least one of the judge’s surnames, found 300 deposits totaling almost 2 million pesos. Sixty-one per cent of the deposits were made to one woman.

In 2010 Luna Altamirano transferred ownership of a donated house in the Coyoacán borough of Mexico City to one of his daughters. The house was valued at close to 5 million pesos.

The investigation also revealed that it was probable that Luna Altamirano didn’t accurately declare his income to tax authorities for the period 2004 to 2012.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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