Saturday, June 22, 2024

Interpol issues red notices for García Luna’s wife and siblings

Interpol has issued red notices for the arrest of the wife and two brothers of former Mexican security minister Genaro García Luna, who is currently in prison in the United States on charges of drug trafficking.

The three people are wanted in connection to crimes committed in Mexico that are unrelated to the U.S. drug trafficking charges for which García Luna was convicted in February.

Mexico's former security minister Genaro Garcia Luna
García Luna was convicted by U.S. prosecutors of international cocaine distribution, among other charges. His attorneys have been granted more time to pursue potentially favorable new evidence they say has come to light since the conviction in February. (File photo by Tercero Diaz/Cuartoscuro)

According to the Mexican Attorney General’s Office (FGR), García Luna’s siblings and his wife Cristina Pereyra are suspected of involvement in one of three cases being brought against García Luna in Mexico. 

The case concerns 10 allegedly fraudulent contracts to provide technological services to Mexican federal prisons, amounting to 5.1 billion pesos (US $302 million).

Pereyra is currently living in the U.S., where she accompanied her husband during his trial in New York in March. Justifying her decision to move from Mexico to Miami, she told the court: “We wanted our children to have a normal life.”

A Mexican federal judge ordered the arrest of Pereyra and García Luna’s brothers in May, along with 60 people accused of involvement in the embezzlement scheme. When they failed to appear in court, the FGR requested that Interpol issue red notices for their arrest.

Pablo Gómez Álvarez, head of Mexico’s federal Financial Intelligence Unit, revealed this year that García Luna orchestrated an embezzlement network of 44 international companies. (lopezobrador.org.mx)

Though a red notice may lead to an arrest, it is considered a formal request, and it is ultimately up to the discretion of the Interpol member country whether or not to arrest the person. This distinguishes it from an international warrant. 

After Interpol issued the red notices, President López Obrador called on former President Felipe Calderón to break his silence about the charges against García Luna, who served as security minister in Calderón’s government.

“He should say that it’s all false, that it was an invention of the government, of the U.S. Attorney General’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration. [If] what is said about García Luna isn’t true, defend him. Or say ‘I made a mistake,’” AMLO said.

García Luna faces two additional arrest warrants in Mexico. One is for the “Fast and the Furious” case, named after a controversial police operation that allowed 2,500 weapons to be trafficked from the U.S. to Mexico between 2009 and 2011. 

Its stated aim was to use the arms to trace drug traffickers, but the illegal arms trafficking network it created only gave more power to the criminals.

The second warrant is for the fictitious construction and operation of several federal prisons, through which García Luna allegedly embezzled 64.9 billion pesos (US $3.84 billion).

United States authorities have not commented on Interpol’s request. 

With reports from López Doriga and El País

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