By Jorge Fuentelsaz |
New York (EFE).- The US Prosecutor’s Office concludes next week its accusation against the former Mexican Secretary of Public Security Genaro García Luna, whom for three weeks it has portrayed, with the help of twenty witnesses, as an agent in the pay of the narcos, who helped and protected the Sinaloa cartel.
As a counterpoint, the defense of the former Mexican politician has insisted on the integrity of his client and has recalled the war he launched against the drug business between 2001 and 2012 when he held the positions of director of the Federal Investigation Agency of Mexico, first , and Secretary of Public Security later.
Their lawyers have also insisted on the absence of physical evidence, such as recordings or photographs, and have tried to discredit the testimonies of hitmen and drug traffickers, as well as corrupt ex-functionaries or former police officers; He accused all of them of acting to get sentence reductions or out of spite towards his client.
Sinaloa cartel payments
Through various testimonies, especially those of the drug traffickers Sergio Villarreal Barragán, alias “el Grande” and Oscar Nava Valencia, alias El Lobo, the Prosecutor’s Office has tried to convince the jury that García Luna received a monthly salary that increased from 1 .5 million dollars to 3 million and to which extra payments were added in cases of specific aid.
“There are two types of corruption, the one that turns to one side and lets it pass, and another, that of the officials who are part of the organization’s activities,” said El Grande, before clarifying that García Luna was from the second class.
El Grande, nicknamed for his two meters tall, and who worked under the orders of capo Arturo Beltrán Leyva, leader of the Beltrán Leyva Brothers clan, one of the factions of the Sinaloa cartel, assured that before 2001 Arturo Beltrán bribed García Luna, and that he was present at several deliveries.
The money was raised through a collection or “polla” to which all factions contributed.
In return, García Luna, whom the drug traffickers referred to as “El Compa”, “El Tartamudo” or “El Metralleta”, the latter two nicknames for the speech disorder he suffers from, helped them expand control of the Sinaloa cartel. all over Mexico.
He offered them information, support and protection, including the appointment of corrupt police leaders in areas where the cartel needed it, always according to Villareal’s testimony.
When he took the stage, El Lobo Valencia mentioned a contribution of 2.5 million dollars in 2006 to said collection and another payment of 5 million in 2007 for the then Secretary of Public Security to help the cartel release a shipment of cocaine from 20 tons discovered in the port of Manzanillo, although the operation failed because in the end the merchandise was seized.
But in addition, he assured that in 2008, when the internal war had already broken out between the main Sinaloan factions of the Beltrán Leyva, on the one hand, and that of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, on the other, he paid 3 million dollars to García Luna in exchange for security.
El Lobo, who appeared dressed in a prison uniform, assured that this protection was necessary after having left the Beltrán Leyva faction and joined El Chapo.
The inoperability of the Federal Police
Other witnesses, such as the accountant of the former Mexican capo Mario Pineda Villa, identified as Israel Ávila, claimed to have recorded more than 10 million dollars in alleged payments to the common collection intended to bribe the former secretary.
Likewise, the former prosecutor of the state of Nayarit, Édgar Veytia, alias El Diablo, stressed that while the Federal Police were faithful to El Chapo, in states like his, state and municipal agents could be under the orders of the Beltrán Leyva.
But beyond criminals and corrupt, ex-police officer Raúl Arellano Aguilera told how the federal agents who guarded the Mexico City Airport in 2007 collaborated with the transfer of drugs and money, above all, to and from Latin America and the United States.
Likewise, the United States ambassador to Mexico between 2011 and 2015, Earl Anthony Wayne, although he acknowledged that he had never received “specific or credible” information that García Luna was corrupt, pointed out that he had been informed that the security forces Americans preferred not to work with the Federal Police (under the authority of García Luna) when it came to operations against the Sinaloa cartel.
An information corroborated by the agent of the US anti-drug agency (DEA, in English) José Moreno, who recounted how on February 22, 2012, 50 Federal Police agents thwarted an operation to try to capture the leader of the Sinaloa cartel, El Chapo, arriving an hour late and behaving erratically.
A country corroded by drug trafficking
For an external observer, the approach of the Prosecutor’s Office leaves almost no doubt that Mexico is drawn as a country corroded by drug cartels, closer to a narco-state than to a democratic system.
The mention of corrupt politicians, bought police officers, electoral campaigns paid for with drug money or journalists and the media such as El Universal in the pay of the cartels has been a constant in these three weeks of testimonies.
Not even former President Felipe Calderón, García Luna’s direct boss in the 2006-2012 six-year term, was spared from appearing in the trial.
In his testimony, El Diablo linked Calderón to El Chapo, assuring that in a brief conversation in 2009 with the then governor of Nayarit, Ney González, he told him that he had just arrived from the capital from a very important meeting with Calderón and García. Luna and that “the line was El Chapo”, with which he understood that he should “privilege the Chapos and not the Beltrán” as he had been doing up to that moment.