LatinNews Daily - 23 January 2023

Mexico’s former security minister goes on trial in the US

Mexico: On 17 January, public jury selection started for the trial of Mexico’s former public security minister Genaro García Luna, who held the role throughout the presidency of Felipe Calderón (2006-2012). García Luna was arrested on 9 December 2019 in the US and faces drug trafficking-related charges. García Luna is accused of taking bribes from the Sinaloa drug trafficking organisation (DTO), to ensure the safe passage of drugs to the US and avoid the capture of its members. US prosecutors allege that García Luna accepted tens of millions of dollars in bribes, often delivered to him in briefcases. US federal prosecutor Breon Peace argued that García Luna “used his official positions to assist the Sinaloa cartel… in exchange for multimillion-dollar bribes” and the government expects “numerous witnesses, including several former high-ranking members of the Sinaloa Cartel” to testify about bribes paid to the defendant in exchange for protection. In the court document, Peace states that García Luna provided “safe passage for drug shipments, sensitive law enforcement information about investigations into the cartel, and information about rival drug cartels,” among other things, in exchange for the aforementioned bribes. Some of the accusations against García Luna arose during the trial of former Sinaloa DTO leader Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán Loera, who was sentenced to life in prison in the US in July 2019. One of these accusations includes the testimony of Jesús ‘El Rey’ Zambada, a former member of the Sinaloa DTO, who testified that he had personally made payments to García Luna on behalf of his older brother, Sinaloa DTO leader Ismael ‘El Mayo’ Zambada García.

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