Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

The Trial of Genaro García-Luna Has Begun in New York

 "Socalj" for Borderland Beat

For a detailed history of the crimes and corruption that Genaro Garcia-Luna stands accused of, follow this series by Borderland Beat founder "Buggs" on the former Secretary of Public Security for Mexico.

Over 3 years after his arrest in Dallas, Texas; the trial of Garcia-Luna officially started.

This article will outline the recent developments leading up to the trial that began this week with jury selection. As more information, details, and witness identities become available throughout his trial, Borderland Beat will look to not only report on but analyze these facts within the context of the past and current drug war in Mexico.

Charges Against Luna

Led by Breon Peace, a team of five prosecutors from the Department of Justice intends to prove, before Judge Brian Cogan, that the Sinaloa Cartel corrupted García Luna and bribed him and others with millions of dollars in cash in order to reach the highest levels of power within the Mexican governments of Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderón. García Luna was the top security officer in Mexico between 2006 and 2012, during the government of President Felipe Calderón, and had previously directed the extinct Federal Investigation Agency between 2001 and 2005, in charge of fighting corruption and organized crime.

Genaro García Luna is charged with four federal crimes of drug trafficking (importing over 52 tons of cocaine across at least 6 shipments) in collusion with the Sinaloa Cartel. It is stated that Luna and others abused their public offices by committing the following acts in furtherance of the Sinaloa Cartel's drug trafficking activities, among others: (a) Agreeing not to interfere with the Sinaloa Cartel's drug shipments in Mexico, which typically consisted of multi-ton quantities of narcotics, and the vast majority of which were destined for the United States; (b) Providing access to sensitive law enforcement information about law enforcement operations against the Sinaloa Cartel; (c) Targeting rival cartel members for arrest, instead of Sinaloa Cartel members, and providing sensitive law enforcement information about rival cartel members; and (d) Placing other corrupt officials in positions of power in certain areas of Mexico controlled by the Sinaloa Cartel.

Cocaine Importation, Distribution & Conspiracy

(1) On or about September 13, 2008, Luna conspired with others to import and distribute 5,000 kilos of cocaine into the United States and internationally.

(2) On or about October 30, 2007, Luna conspired with others to import 23,000 kilos of cocaine into the United States and internationally.

(3) On or about March 18, 2007, Luna conspired with others to import 19,000 kilos of cocaine into the United States and internationally.

(4) On or about January 28, 2003, Luna conspired with others to import 1,997 kilos of cocaine into the United States, being distributed in New York and elsewhere.

(5) On or about August 16, 2002, Luna conspired with others to import 1,925 kilos of cocaine into the United States, being distributed in Illinois and elsewhere.

(6) On or about May 24, 2002, Luna conspired with others to import 1,923 kilos of cocaine into the United States, being distributed in Illinois and elsewhere.

Making False Statements

An additional crime he is also being charged with is lying to an immigration official in 2018. Should he be found not guilty on the drug trafficking charges, it is likely that this charge will not stick as well. 

On June 1, 2018, in a statement to the United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS), the defendant falsely stated and represented that he had never committed, 'assisted in committing, or attempted to commit a crime or offense for which he had not been arrested, when, in fact, the defendant then and there knew and believed, he had committed, assisted in committing and attempted to commit crimes and offenses for which he had not been arrested. 

Prosecution & Defense Motions

García Luna's public defender, César de Castro, had asked Judge Brian Cogan of the Court in Brooklyn to throw out the 4 drug trafficking charges because they all took place when he was a Mexican official. 

The judge has denied this motion and the charges have remained in place stating, "that it will be at the trial when the defense has the opportunity to demonstrate that the accusations of drug trafficking against the former Mexican government official are unfounded."

Additional documents were provided this month in an effort to show that the conspiracy he is accused of resulted in criminal acts in the US stemming from the drug trafficking he allowed to take place.

The documents were confiscated on September 13, 2008, others on March 18, 2007, January 28, 2003, August 16, 2002, May 24, 2002, and February 2012; these were during the presidencies of Fox and Calderón. The other five pages with classified or protected information include translated letters and documents, birth certificates, information on immigration issues, pages that intentionally do not describe their content, and others.

Luna with then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2009 during her visit to Mexico. She wrote a letter in support of Luna during his US Visa application in 2013.

The prosecution filed a motion to prevent and preclude any mention of Luna's work with the US officials and authorities including certain statements that he made following his arrest regarding this, documents that would be hearsay, and photos of Luna with US officials. Following his arrest, García Luna presented documents by high-ranking U.S. officials, including Robert Mueller and Hillary Clinton, which he had used previously to support his 2013 visa application. Their belief is that this could mislead and confuse the jury. For similar reasons, evidence and arguments surrounding the dismissal of charges against another former Mexican government official, General Cienfuegos, are also requested to be precluded.

The DOJ filed a motion to preclude the defense from offering into evidence any photographs of Luna meeting with US officials.

The defense argues that when he was a federal official he had relationships with United States officials at the highest level including former President Obama, they had never accused him of any wrongdoing at those times. De Castro demanded from the DOJ transcripts of all conversations and interactions that García Luna had as a federal official with US officials during the time period of 2001 to 2012.

According to the file shared by the journalist Keegan Hamilton through his Twitter account, in an interview after his arrest, the defendant lied about and even denied having met with a group linked to drug trafficking.

Luna's defense looks to limit any mention of his wealth during the trial.

The most recent motion filed by the defense seeks to limit any mention of his wealth from the trial. Stating that his millions have come from private companies. "The government cannot establish a connection between the alleged bribes when he was a government official in Mexico before 2012 and exposing the accumulation of wealth or luxuries after 2012 when he was part of a private business," wrote César de Castro. “When Calderón's presidency ended, García Luna retired as a government official and moved to Miami, Florida, where together with partners he established a business that offered security advice to foreign companies and governments,” lawyer De Castro clarifies.

Prosecutors maintain that until December 9, 2019, when García Luna was detained by DEA agents in Dallas, Texas, he still continued to receive money from drug trafficking. But the defense claim that his lavish lifestyle in Miami was paid for by "his business partners" "they provided him a place to live in Miami – a large expensive house with a dock and boat for his use – as well as other perks. The government knows that he did not own the house and boat."

The defense also notified the judge that the Mexican government accuses Luna of stealing over $250 million from that country. This was supported by García Luna's lawyers in the investigation that the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP) of Mexico opened against him in 2019.

So essentially, his defense is that his wealth came from possible corruption and by stealing money from the Mexican government and not from cartel bribery and trafficking proceeds. "The government has zero evidence that Mr. Garcia Luna’s purported displays of wealth and luxury between 2013 and 2019 were linked in any way to bribes he allegedly received before he left the government," his defense stated in their motion.

But, according to the indictment, on two occasions, the cartel personally delivered bribe payments to Garcia Luna in briefcases containing between $3 and $5 million. Based on financial records, by the time Garcia Luna relocated to the United States in 2012, he had amassed a personal fortune of millions of dollars.

The defense countered the prosecution's motion to preclude evidence of meeting and working with US officials and law enforcement, stating that many of the potential witnesses were arrested and extradited to the US during Luna's tenure.

Potential Witnesses

Following a request by the defense, and approval by Judge Cogan, the Department of Justice has promised to inform García Luna's defense of witnesses it plans to bring no less than 3 days prior. This, however, mostly applies to specialists, law enforcement, and other witnesses including officials from all levels of government, federal agents, forensics, and specialists in finance, biometrics, and cyber communications.

The former narcos, convicted of crimes of their own, would greatly incriminate García Luna. These potential witnesses include Jesús "El Rey" Zambada García, Edgar "La Barbie" Valdez Villarreal, Dámaso "El Liciendo" López Núñez and his son, Dámaso "El Mini Lic" López Serrano, and Jesús Vicente "El Vicentillo" Zambada Niebla.

A former prosecutor of Nayarit, Edgar Veytia, could also testify; Colombian kingpins, such as Juan Carlos Ramírez Abadía, "Chupeta," and the wife of Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, Emma Coronel Aispuro, who is soon to be released could even be called as a witness. We do not officially know the list of bombshell witnesses yet, most notably "La Barbie" who recently, as discovered by Borderland Beat, is no longer listed in BOP prison custody

The DOJ does not have to disclose the names of these witnesses to the defense team until 24 hours prior to their testimony so that the defense can adequately prepare.

Jury Selection Process Begins

While the trial of Luna began on Monday, January 9, 2023; the first week will consist of jury selection. The pool of 400 potential jurors in New York City will be questioned and the defense and prosecution will dismiss or select jurors reaching a total of 60 by January 17. From there, the final 12, plus alternates will be selected before the core of the trial begins. It is not known currently if the jury will be sequestered due to the nature of the offenses and the attention it is sure to get. And with accusations of Luna threatening potential witnesses while behind bars; the concerns for safety could extend to the jurors.

If found guilty by the jury, García Luna could be sentenced to life imprisonment as the maximum punishment or a minimum of 20 years in prison. Should he decide to forego the trial and change his plea to guilty, it is likely that sentence could be around 7-10 years in federal prison. Currently, Luna is being held at MDC Brooklyn, a common holding facility for federal prisoners on trial including mobsters, and terrorists.

Sources ProcesoProceso, Proceso, Procesco, Proceso, Keegan Hamilton, Borderland Beat, El Pais, DOJ, DOJMexico News Daily, DOJ


  1. Damn. My boy got life without parole for 100 keys. This fool should get the lethal injection. Nah, he won’t. He’s a politician

    1. @9:18PM life without parole for 100 keys??

    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    3. @9.16. And you make snide dog-whistling comments because you don't have the balls to say what you really mean. Coward.

  2. Innocent free Hector

  3. Daaang, 7-10 if he pleads guilty? Minus good behavior and time served? This fool (not really) will be out in 3-5 years!

    1. That information must be incorrect, he's facing possible life exposure instead of biting the bullet and taking 84 to 120 months? Instead he admits to public embezzlement of funds from México when he knows AMLO wants to scalp past officials who he can accuse of corruption.

    2. 7-10 if he pleads guilty ??that’s insane for the level of drugs he conspired to move he worked for and with drug lords .betrayed his own country and was corrupt to the bone wow !!what a way to make an example of him , with a slap on the wrist . The US really needs to change their laws on jail time for these big guys who flood the streets of their country with drugs if they want the world to take there efforts on their war on drugs seriously .

  4. When are we gonna call to trial Jorge W bush, Hillary Clinton and the Barack Obama administration for there genocide of the people of the Middle East?

    1. Bush started the war after 9/11 (Bush = Republican). Obama came in and cleaned up the economy, killed Osama Bin Laden within weeks of coming into office. Biden ended the war when he came into office.

  5. This is what happens when you don't pay 10% to The Big Guy!

  6. The stench of hypocrisy in the courtroom will sicken you. The indictment should read didn't kickup 10% For The Big Guy! A show trial warning to don't forget who your boss is!

    1. Lucky there is a honest America to hold all the Mexican criminals to account. Mexicans should be ashamed of their country.

    2. That’s hilarious. This is all a show! They are going to cover up any evidence of us gov complicity to perpetuate the lie that corruption exists only south of the border when anyone with half a brain knows that drug trafficking at this scale is impossible without collusion on both sides of the border! I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they are using chapos judge as that dude did a great job ensuring none of merica’s dirty dealings come to light

    3. @4:45 u be doing the most

    4. The dea have been helping drug trafficker for decades yet they have free range to be as currupt as they want with impunity.. American officials look the other way because they know the only thing propping up the the economy after they let currupt wall street bankers and American oligarchs steal the people’s money

  7. Don Sol about to get it, kinda surprised they didn't bring Chapo in as a witness surely he has the most dirt on him? Give Chapo a hope at seeing Mexico alive again by letting him testify against this clown.

    1. I thought the same thing but as much as they lauded his capture as being really significant, I doubt they'd cut his time, even a few years. You never know though.

    2. They have all the witnesses needed without Chapo. So why even consider reducing Chapos time!

  8. The pic with killary and luna with their filthy little cloven hooves opened wide for their graft is freaking hilarious! America honest! Mexico corrupt! Y'all got it!

  9. I thought the US Attorney wasn’t offering a plea deal and was taking him to trial?

  10. Genaro Gracia should testify how Barak Obama used " Fast and Furious" to arm the sinaloa cartel with military weapons

    1. Ya still with that shit,Obama is retired.
      Get over it, get a life 🤣.

  11. Onother Mexican being used as if there was REALLY a war on drugs 😂
    America never been so flooded with drugs, EVER!!


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