Former top law enforcement official Genaro García Luna has been convicted of taking bribes running up to tens of millions of dollars from El Chapo and the Sinaloa Cartel, a cartel he was tasked with bringing to justice.
The verdict is in: Genaro Garcia Luna is guilty on all counts.
— US Attorney EDNY (@EDNYnews) February 21, 2023
After three days of deliberations, Luna, former head of Mexico’s Federal Investigation Agency and former Secretary of Public Security, was found guilty on all five counts brought against him on Tuesday. He was charged with conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the United States, working on behalf of the cartel and lying on his application for U.S. citizenship.
Prosecutors accused Luna of protecting cocaine shipments the Sinaloa Cartel moved through Mexico in exchange for the bribe. According to them, he protected members of the cartel from arrest and told drug traffickers about law enforcement operations.
“While he was expected to work for the Mexican people, he had a second job, a dirtier job, a more profitable job,” prosecutors told jurors at the trial opening last month.
Luna, who was arrested in 2019, tried to fight the charges and pleaded not guilty. His lawyer told jurors that the accusations were based on testimony from criminals who lied to get sentencing breaks and also get back at him for his efforts at fighting the smuggling of drugs.
The four-week trial saw testimonies by former cartel members who bore witness to the bribes Luna took from the Sinaloa cartel in exchange for protection from law enforcement. The proceedings were carried out in the same court where El Chapo was convicted in 2019 for multiple crimes, including drug trafficking, and sentenced to life in prison.
Luna is the highest-ranking Mexican official to be tried in the U.S. – current or former – according to AP News. Reacting to his conviction, U.S. Attorney Breon Peace of Brooklyn expressed satisfaction that justice has been served.
“García Luna, who once stood at the pinnacle of law enforcement in Mexico, will now live the rest of his days having been revealed as a traitor to his country and to the honest members of law enforcement who risked their lives to dismantle drug cartels,” Peace wrote in a statement.
Luna’s sentencing has been set for June 27. Having been found guilty, he faces a minimum of mandatory twenty years in prison or a maximum of life in prison without parole. However, his lawyer has revealed plans to appeal as he said the case was void of “credible and reliable evidence.”