A former Mexican law enforcement official was convicted on U.S. charges of taking bribes from the Sinaloa cartel in exchange for protection and information. Genaro Garcia Luna, who once led the country's fight against drug traffickers, was found guilty on all five counts he faced, including continuing criminal enterprise and conspiracy to distribute cocaine in the U.S.
Facing a Long Prison Term
Garcia Luna, one of the highest-ranking Mexican officials ever accused of drug trafficking ties, now faces a prison term of at least 20 years and potentially the rest of his life. He led Mexico's Federal Investigation Agency from 2001 to 2005 and served as public security minister until 2012.
Jurors Hear Testimonies from Convicted Cartel Members
During the four-week trial, jurors heard from nine convicted cartel members who testified about bribes received by Garcia Luna. He had pleaded not guilty, with his lawyers arguing that the prosecution relied on inconsistent narratives from violent criminals seeking revenge and reduced U.S. prison sentences.
Reactions from Mexican Officials and Defense Lawyers
Jesus Ramirez, a spokesman for Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, said justice had been served. Garcia Luna's defense lawyer, Cesar de Castro, expressed disappointment with the verdict but said Garcia Luna would continue to clear his name.
Following Garcia Luna's arrest, former Mexican President Felipe Calderon expressed shock and claimed ignorance of the allegations against his former security minister. Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the former leader of the Sinaloa cartel, is serving a life sentence in a high-security prison in Colorado.