As reporters clambered for a spot in Brooklyn federal court house, federal prosecutors laid out their opening arguments Monday against a top Mexican official, Genaro Garcia Luna, who was once a trusted ally of the United States in its continuing fight against Mexico’s most powerful drug cartels.
Luna, 54, who headed the Mexican Federal Police, was considered one of the few state officials brought into the circle of trust by U.S. intelligence and narcotics officials targeting the Sinaloa and Beltran Levy cartels.
What U.S. officials didn’t know at the time is that their ally was believed to be making millions of dollars aiding and abetting the cartels. He led Mexico’s Federal Investigative Agency from 2001 to 2005. It wasn’t until 2006, that he was named the secretary of public security, putting him in charge of the Mexican Federal Police.
Luna, is being accused by prosectors for providing direct aide to Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman – former head of the Sinaloa Cartel – and the leaders of the Beltran Levy cartel, which is responsible for moving hundreds of millions of dollars in cocaine and other illicit narcotics into the United States. He is also suspected to of being behind the killing of a top DEA informant that worked closely with U.S. officials.
Charging these officials in the United States sends a clear message to the cartels but it also exposes how vulnerable our nation is to the growing power of the narco-terrorist organizations, said Derek Maltz, who headed DEA’s Special Operations.
“There is wide spread systemic corruption in Mexico and Central America that enables the cartels to operate with impunity,” said Maltz. “Unfortunately, American families and communities are suffering and historic numbers of young citizens are dying from the deadly drugs. I look forward to hearing the dramatic testimony that will expose the “triple agent” to the world. Maybe then will the American citizens recognize the level of the threat to our citizens.”
Maltz pointed out that the Eastern District of New York Prosecutors “had the courage to expose this nightmare to the world just like they did with El Chapo. These ruthless Narco terrorists need to be held accountable and gave Justice.”
Maltz also warned that it is “corrupt officials like Luna help the Mexican Terror Cartels daily by providing sensitive information and creating safe routes for the deadly drugs to be imported into the US. They get huge rewards and live the rock star high lives are our families suffer. I applaud the law enforcement officials and US Attorney and Assistants who recognized the importance of exposing the truth to the public. ”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip Pilmar said, according to reports that Luna “kept taking dirty money and cocaine kept flowing into the United States…Because he controlled the country’s entire police force, the defendant thought he was above the law … No one is above the law.”
Luna’s connection to the death of a DEA informant is described in detail in a report on The Intercept:
García Luna’s alleged role in the DEA informant’s death came to light during the sentencing of another Mexican security official accused of crimes in the U.S.: Ivan Reyes Arzate, also known as “La Reina.”
According to over 200 pages of court records, La Reina was a Federal Police officer from 2003 to 2016. He rose through the ranks and in 2008, was promoted to commander of the Federal Police’s Sensitive Investigative Unit, also known as the SIU. La Reina’s top boss, as with all Federal Police officials, was the secretary of public security, García Luna.
The SIU was the premier Federal Police unit working with the DEA in Mexico — or it was supposed to be, having been specially created for that purpose. All SIU members, including La Reina, received special training from the DEA in Quantico, Virginia. The DEA relied on the SIU for operations, surveillance, and high-profile arrests.
“We have very special or specific people that we work with who we have tried to vet and make sure that we can trust them,” one DEA agent said in court, “because of the corruption that we know sometimes exists in those other countries and around the world.”
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Historic House Vote Expels Rep. George Santos Amidst Scandal
In a turn of events, the House of Representatives made history on Friday with a vote to expel Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), marking the first such expulsion in over two decades. A moment fraught with gravity unfolded as Speaker Mike Johnson wielded his gavel to formalize Santos’ removal, setting a precedent in congressional annals.
Santos, indicted on 23 counts related to wire fraud, identity theft, and other charges, has not faced conviction but stands accused of misusing campaign funds for opulent purchases. The bipartisan vote, tallying 311 to 114, signaled robust support for expulsion, with a marginally higher number of Republicans opting to retain Santos.
Questions loomed as Speaker Johnson left the chamber, his silence leaving the fate of the ongoing government spending battle uncertain. According to reports from Fox News, Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer emphasized the non-partisan nature of the decision, asserting that members concluded Santos had tarnished the House’s reputation and was unfit for representation.
Within the GOP, conflicting opinions emerged, with Rep. Darrell Issa arguing against expulsion, citing the presumption of innocence. The tight-lipped stance of the House Ethics Committee played a pivotal role in the deliberations.
Conversely, members of the New York Republican delegation, led by Rep. Marc Molinaro, asserted Santos’ commission of crimes, justifying expulsion based on a comprehensive investigation.
Santos himself predicted the outcome in an exclusive morning interview on “FOX & Friends.” This vote not only underlines the House’s rare use of expulsion powers but also sets a critical precedent in handling members facing severe legal challenges.
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