Ex-Mexican Secretary of Public Security Genaro Garcia Luna Convicted of Engaging in a Continuing Criminal Enterprise and Taking Millions in Cash Bribes from the Sinaloa Cartel
The Once-Highest Ranking Law Enforcement Official in Mexico Is Now a Convicted Felon
BROOKLYN, NY - Genaro Garcia Luna, the former Secretary of Public Security in Mexico from 2006 to 2012, was convicted today by a federal jury in Brooklyn of all five counts of a superseding indictment charging him with engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise that includes six drug-related violations, international cocaine distribution conspiracy, conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine, conspiracy to import cocaine, and making false statements. The verdict followed a four-week trial before United States District Judge Brian M. Cogan. When sentenced, Luna faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and a maximum of life in prison.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Anne Milgram, Administrator, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Ivan J. Arvelo, Special Agent-in-Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, New York (HSI), announced the verdict.
“Garcia 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,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “It is unconscionable that the defendant betrayed his duty as Secretary of Public Security by greedily accepting millions of dollars in bribe money that was stained by the blood of Cartel wars and drug-related battles in the streets of the United States and Mexico, in exchange for protecting those murderers and traffickers he was solemnly sworn to investigate. Today’s verdict is a shining light for the rule of law, right over wrong, and justice over injustice for all those who have suffered as a result of the defendant’s deplorable crimes.”
“Today’s conviction of Genaro Garcia Luna clearly shows that DEA will stop at nothing to pursue corrupt political officials who engage in drug trafficking and violence,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram. “Garcia Luna, the former Secretary of Public Security in Mexico, received millions of dollars in bribes from the Sinaloa cartel in exchange for protecting its drug trafficking activities and facilitating the importation of cocaine and other drugs into the United States. This case affirms DEA’s dedication to target and bring to justice those that enable the Sinaloa criminal drug cartel to flood the U.S. with deadly drugs that are killing Americans at unprecedented rates. It should send a clear message – to all political leaders around the world that trade on positions of influence to further transnational organized crime – that DEA will relentlessly pursue drug trafficking organizations that threaten the safety and health of the American people.”
HSI New York Special Agent in Charge Ivan J. Arvelo: “Criminal organizations cannot function at the level of the Sinaloa drug cartel without the support of corrupt politicians and officials such as Genaro Garcia Luna who aid and abet them. Garcia Luna, a trusted public servant, used his official position to assist this violent drug cartel in exchange for millions of dollars in bribes. Not only did Garcia Luna betray his position, his people and his country, his actions facilitated the importation of tons of illicit drugs into the United States. Corrupt officials like Garcia Luna create a dangerous work environment for U.S. law enforcement who often share sensitive information with the Mexican government to stem the flow of dangerous narcotics into the United States. HSI, along with our law enforcement partners, will aggressively pursue individuals and organizations that negatively impact the national security of the United States and the safety of its citizens.”
As proven at trial, from 2006 to 2012, Garcia Luna was Mexico’s top law enforcement official, serving as Secretary of Public Security and, in that capacity, controlled Mexico’s Federal Police Force. Previously, from 2001 to 2005, the defendant was the head of Mexico’s Federal Investigative Agency (“AFI”). The defendant used his official positions to assist the violent Sinaloa drug cartel in exchange for millions of dollars in bribes. Garcia Luna’s conduct included facilitating the safe passage for the Cartel’s drug shipments, providing sensitive law enforcement information about investigations into the Cartel, and helping the Cartel attack rival drug cartels, thereby facilitating the importation of multi-ton quantities of cocaine and other drugs into the United States.
The evidence included testimony from former high-ranking members of the Sinaloa Cartel with direct knowledge of the defendant’s corrupt activities. For example, in exchange for bribes, the defendant’s Federal Police Force acted as bodyguards and escorts for the Cartel, allowing Cartel members to wear police uniforms and badges, and helped unload shipments of cocaine from planes at Mexico City’s airport, then delivered the cocaine to the Cartel. The defendant was paid in U.S. currency — $100 bills in bundles of $10,000 at times — stuffed variously in a suitcase, briefcases and duffel bags. The bribe amounts increased over the years as the Sinaloa Cartel grew in size and power through the assistance of the defendant. Former members of the Cartel testified that bribe money was handed off to the defendant in a variety of locations, including at a “safe house” located in Mexico City where large amounts of cash were hidden in a false wall, at a car wash in Guadalajara, and at a French restaurant in Mexico City across the street from the U.S. Embassy. Further, in exchange for the millions of dollars that the defendant was receiving in bribes, his federal police leaked sensitive information that enabled the Cartel to evade detection by law enforcement or use the information in attacks on rival traffickers.
Finally, after moving to the United States in 2012, Garcia Luna submitted an application for naturalization in 2018, in which he lied about his past criminal conduct on behalf of the Sinaloa Cartel in an attempt to become a U.S. citizen.
Garcia Luna’s co-defendants in the superseding indictment, Luis Cardenas Palomino and Ramon Pequeno Garcia, former high-ranking Mexican law enforcement officials who worked under Garcia Luna, remain fugitives from U.S. authorities.
The investigation was led by the New York Strike Force, a crime-fighting unit comprising federal, state and local law enforcement agencies supported by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. The Strike Force is based at the DEA’s New York Division and includes agents and officers of the DEA, New York City Police Department, New York State Police, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Secret Service, United States Marshals Service, New York National Guard, Clarkstown Police Department, U.S. Coast Guard, Port Washington Police Department and New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s International Narcotics and Money Laundering Section. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Saritha Komatireddy, Erin Reid, Philip Pilmar, Marietou Diouf, and Adam Amir are in charge of the prosecution, with the assistance of Paralegal Specialists Huda Abouchaer,Melissa Bennett, and Bridget Donovan.
GENARO GARCIA LUNA
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 19-CR-576 (BMC)