Photo: BOP – Eastern District Court of NY / Getty Images
NEW YORK.- After losing several battles to face his judicial process in freedom, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this Tuesday the trial of the former Mexican Secretary of Public Security formally begins Genaro Garcia Luna54 years old, accused of drug trafficking.
The final selection of the jury will be this Tuesday, after which will follow the presentation of the case by federal prosecutors and the rejection of the accusations by the defense, led by lawyer César de Castro.
García Luna is accused of five crimes, the main one being (1) “Continuously leading a criminal enterprise”the same crime for which Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera was accused, who was sentenced to life imprisonment.
There are three counts of conspiracy for (2) cocaine trafficking, (3) distribution and possession of cocaine, and (4) for the importation of cocaine.
The fifth charge is for having made false testimony to the immigration authoritiessince knowing that he committed a crime made it “inadmissible” to enter the US or receive any immigration protection, such as the Green Card.
It should be remembered that García Luna was mentioned during the trial of “El Chapo”. The allegations that he received millions of dollars from the Sinaloa Cartel were made by Jesús “El Rey” Zambada.
what to pay attention to
Although they mark the minimum of the law on cocaine trafficking, that is, at least five kilograms, the prosecutors listed the cases in which they could focus most of their evidence on the alleged criminal acts of García Luna as an official between 2001 and 2012. between the governments of vincent fox Y Felipe Calderonand already out of government between 2012 and 2018.
These cases include the trafficking of 5,000 kilograms on September 13, 2008; 23,000 kilograms on October 30, 2007; 19,000 kilograms on March 18, 2007; 1,997 kilograms on February 28, 2003; 1,925 kilograms on August 16, 2002, and 1,923 kilograms on May 24, 2002.
The prosecutors handling the case are Erin Reid, Michael Robotti, Saritha Komatireddy, Adam Amir, Hiral Mehta, Marietou Diouf, Nathan Reilly, Philip Pilmar and Ryan C Harris, although not all of them will question, but they have revealed that they have more than a million of test documents.
For almost three years, the Prosecutor’s Office was collecting documents from countries such as Mexico, Panama, the Dominican Republic and Colombia.
There are also thousands of hours of audio and video recordings implicating García Luna with the drug trafficker, of which transcripts were made to present as evidence.
The defense is already aware of a first list of more than 20 witnesses and collaborators, but there are some that the prosecution for the Eastern District of New York has preferred to keep secret.
Among the possible collaborators could be “El Rey” Zambada; Iván Reyes Arzate, aka “The Queen”former director of the Anti-Drug Division of the Mexican Federal Police, and Édgar Valdez Villarreal, alias “La Barbie”.
Among the witnesses there are US federal agents, he came forward.
The defense succeeded in Judge Brian Cogan determined that the prosecutors must make the cooperator on duty to testify known for at least 24 hours, because in addition, the test documentation must also be delivered so that García Luna’s defense can prepare.
This January 17, the trial formally begins with the final selection of the jury, after 400 candidates were interviewed, of which there are 30 finalists, from which the final panel will come.
The jury will be anonymous, at the request of the prosecution and considering the possible connections of García Luna in the US and Mexico.
García Luna’s defense managed to get his client to dress in civilian clothes during hearings at the Brooklyn-based court, about 10 minutes from the Metropolitan Detention Center, where the former official is being held.
García Luna’s family is expected to attend the trial, where they will have a reserved seat.
If Judge Cogan’s schedule is kept, the trial would end in early March and, if Garcia Luna is found guilty, the judge would set a sentencing date, which could be up to life in prison.
There is still the possibility that the trial will be suspended, if García Luna reaches an agreement that suits him to spend less time in prison, but for this he will need to have very valuable information so that prosecutors can go after other former or current officials or leaders of the narco.