More than 2,500 large-caliber weapons were introduced into Mexico in 2009 with the consent of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and, according to the Attorney General’s Office (FGR), with the knowledge and approval of Genaro. Garcia Luna. Just because of this operation, called “Fast and Furious”, Our country announced that it seeks to extradite the former official so that he can be tried on Mexican soil.
The arrival in Mexico of weapons equipped drug traffickers between 2009 and 2011, especially the Sinaloa cartel and the criminal group Los Zetas, with serious consequences for the population and security forces in the administration of President Felipe Calderón.
Because, considering the possibility that the former Secretary of Public Safety will be declared innocent in the New York Court, where he is currently being tried for drug trafficking, the Mexican Prosecutor’s Office reactivated the accusations against García Luna.
According to the FGR, Genaro García Luna already has an arrest warrant for his involvement in the Fast and Furious operation. A federal judge, says the Prosecutor’s Office, has already issued the arrest warrant against the former official, for having allowed the illegal introduction of weapons into our country.
Although the FGR acknowledges in a statement that there are “legal limitations”, due to the criminal process that García Luna is being followed in the United States, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already begun negotiations with the United States authorities to obtain the extradition also former head of the Federal Investigation Agency (AFI).
As will be recalled, in addition to the countless deaths generated between 2006 and 2012, due to the so-called war on drugs, in 2011, hitmen from the Zetas deprived of their lives in San Luis Potosí Jamie Zapata, an American agent working in Mexico. The investigation of this crime revealed that the weapons used were part of the Fast and Furious operation with which the United States intended to track the routes and the final destination of the supplies.
With this, Genaro García can not only be accused, as he already is, for the illegal introduction of weapons, but also for his collaboration so that other crimes were committed with said weapons, such as homicide.
Is it feasible to judge him in Mexico?
Genaro Garcia Luna, 54, is on trial for five criminal counts in the Eastern District Court of New York. Specifically, he is accused of illegally introduce into the neighboring country approximately 52,845 kilos of cocaine, crimes that he allegedly committed between May 2002 and September 2008, allegedly related to the Sinaloa cartels and the Beltrán Leyva brothers.
If found guilty, the judge Brian M Cogan could impose a sentence of between 20 years in prison and life imprisonment, Therefore, it is difficult, but not impossible, for the former Secretary of Public Security to be extradited from the United States to Mexico, to allow him to also be tried in our country.
What normally happens in these cases is that the sentenced person must first serve his sentence on US soil, and then be transferred to Mexico. In fact, there is a recent precedent for this procedure: Hector Luis Palma Salazar, alias the “Güero Palma”, He was handed over to the FGR in 2016, because the offender completed his sentence in the United States, where he was extradited in 2007.
For more than six years, Palma Salazar, who is one of the founders of the Sinaloa cartel, has remained in the maximum security prison of the Altiplano in the State of Mexico, although in May 2021 he obtained his freedom, only for five minutes, after being acquitted for the crime of organized crime.
Immediately after this, he was reapprehended by the FGR for having a case pending against him.
This example illustrates what could happen with García Luna. If he obtains a lesser sentence in New York, Mexico could wait for him to comply with it to later try him in Mexican courts.
Although in reality what the FGR is doing by reactivating the arrest warrants against the former official, and initiating the extradition proceedings, is to anticipate that, should he be found not guilty, he will be immediately re-arrested to be sent to our country.
What does the FGR accuse you of?
The Attorney General of the Republic reported that it has two arrest warrants against Genaro García Luna for crimes committed in Mexico that are not related to the criminal proceedings being followed in the United States. A first arrest warrant is the one that refers to the participation of the former AFI head in the Fast and Furious operation.
The second arrest warrant is for the “immense property damage” that García Luna would have caused from various contracts established by Federal Centers for Social Readaptation (Ceferesos) with US companies, which were actually owned by the former public servant.
The FGR does not give more details of this last charge, although HIGH LEVEL reported last week that the Decentralized Administrative Body for Prevention and Social Readaptation (OADPRS) transferred 403.9 million dollars to accounts in tax havens.
These resources would have been received by García Luna, who later transferred them to the American Union, where bought at least 30 companies, 30 real estate properties, multiple cars and boatsin addition to substantial bank assets, according to the evidence presented by the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Mexican Ministry of Finance in a Florida Court, an instance in which the former official and seven of his partners are sued civilly by our country.
In turn, there are two other FGR investigations for more crimes allegedly committed by García Luna in Mexico, and a new arrest request that adds to the warrants already granted for his capture.
The Prosecutor’s Office said that the procedures before the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the American authorities, to obtain the extradition of Genaro García Luna, are already in process, for which this institution is awaiting the outcome of the trial in New York, where -until now- no evidence has been presented against him, but only statements from drug traffickers convicted in the United States, who claim to have bribed the former official.
surya palaces Journalist and lawyer, specialist in legal analysis and human rights. She has been a reporter, radio host and editor.