Opening statements are set to begin Monday morning in the trial of former Mexican Secretary of Public Security Genaro García Luna, who is facing decades of possible prison time based on allegations that he took millions of dollars in bribes in exchange for helping a drug cartel he was supposedly trying to stop.
Luna was responsible for taking down several big-name cartel leaders as he ran Mexico’s version of the FBI, which was tasked with a brutal crackdown against drug violence during the Calderon administration, but authorities say Luna was living a double life and helping cartels escape the law at the same time.
One cartel in particular, prosecutors say, is the powerful Sinaloa Cartel, once run by Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, who himself is serving a life sentence following a conviction at trial in U.S. federal court in the Eastern District of New York. Luna’s trial will be taking place in the same courthouse.
“The Sinaloa Cartel used the corruption of public officials in Mexico as a means and method of achieving the goals of its drug trafficking enterprise,” Luna’s indictment said.
Prosecutors say that in exchange for bribes, Luna helped the cartel by not interfering in drug shipments from Mexico, most of which went to the United States, giving the cartel “sensitive law enforcement information” about operations against the cartel, targeting members of rival cartels, and placing corrupt officials in areas controlled by the cartel.
Luna was responsible for taking down several big-name cartel leaders as he ran Mexico’s version of the FBI, which was tasked with a brutal crackdown against drug violence during the administration of former President Felipe Calderón, but authorities say Luna was living a double life and helping cartels escape the law at the same time.
Luna is accused of helping the cartel as early as 2001, and the indictment against him specifies several alleged instances of him facilitating the distribution of thousands of kilograms of cocaine, in what was alleged to be a “continuing criminal enterprise.”
Prosecutors are expected to provide evidence in the form of pay stubs that show him accepting money from various proxies linked to the cartels.
Luna eventually moved to the United States, where he was arrested in 2019. He was living in Miami before he was eventually apprehended outside Dallas, Texas.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has welcomed the trial, which is expected to cast light on corruption in the administration of Calderón, whom the president accuses of robbing him of the presidency in 2006.
Jury selection took place last week for the trial, which prosecutors expect will last roughly eight weeks.
Fox News’ Andrew Mark Miller and the Associated Press contributed to this report.