Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Ex-president Calderón denies claim he ordered support for El Chapo

Former president Felipe Calderón has rejected an accusation that he ordered a former governor of Nayarit to support convicted drug trafficker Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

Edgar Veytia, a former attorney general of Nayarit who in 2019 was sentenced to 20 years in jail in the United States for drug trafficking, made the claim Tuesday at the New York trial of ex-federal security minister Genaro García Luna, who is accused of colluding with the Sinaloa Cartel, the criminal organization once headed by Guzmán.

Former Nayarit, Mexico, attorney general Edgar Veytia
Former Nayarit attorney general Edgar Veytia testified at former Mexico security minister Genaro García Luna’s trial in the U.S. on Tuesday that former president Felipe Caldéron wanted to protect now-jailed Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. (File photo)

Veytia said that Calderón and García Luna — who served as the ex-president’s security minister between 2006 and 2012 — met with former Nayarit governor Ney González in 2011 and told him to support “El Chapo” and his allies in a turf war against the Beltrán Leyva Cartel.

The former Nayarit attorney general claimed that González, who left office in 2011, conveyed that information to him. The ex-governor didn’t comply with the order because he had sided with the Beltrán Leyva Cartel, said Veytia, who was a law enforcement official before becoming state attorney general.

Calderón rejected Veytia’s accusation in a post to his Twitter account.

“I’ve reserved my opinion about the trial of García Luna until it finishes. For now, I categorically deny the absurd testimony, reported by the press, that the witness Veytia gave today. What he says about me is a complete lie. I never negotiated or made pacts with criminals,” he wrote.

Calderón has previously denied any involvement in or knowledge of the alleged criminal activity of his security minister.

Another former state official appeared at the trial of García Luna on Monday and claimed that the former security minister paid the El Universal newspaper 25 million pesos a month in exchange for favorable coverage.

Former Coahuila finance minister Héctor Javier Villarreal, who is in prison in the U.S. on a money laundering conviction, said that former Coahuila governor Humberto Moreira acted as an intermediary between García Luna and El Universal owner Juan Francisco Ealy.

Moreira, governor from 2005 to 2011, denied the accusation.

The trial of García Luna — who was arrested in Dallas, Texas, in December 2019 —  is currently in its third week and is expected to last another month.

The ex-security minister also faces criminal charges in Mexico, and the Federal Attorney General’s Office said in late January that proceedings aimed at securing his extradition are continuing “within the framework of the corresponding legal limitations.”

With reports from Reforma, El Financiero,El Universal and El País

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