ABC News says Mexico’s former security chief was dogged by so many allegations of corruption and wrongdoing for so long, that some said it was only a matter of time before he would be arrested.
What amazed some was that it took so long, and that Genaro García Luna’s arrest this week came on U.S. soil rather than in Mexico.
García Luna, 52, who left the security post nearly a decade ago, was charged in federal court in New York with three counts of trafficking cocaine and one count of making false statements. He was arrested on Monday Cecember 9th, outside Dallas and at his initial appearance Tuesday the tenth, his bail hearing was set for Dec. 17. He moved to the U.S. in 2012 and has been living in Florida.
“This wasn’t a surprise,” said Samuel González, who served as Mexico’s chief organized crime prosecutor in a prior administration. González said he turned down offers to work with García Luna in the 2000s, noting that “it wasn’t a question of if, but rather when” Garcia Luna would be charged.
García Luna was public safety secretary in President Felipe Calderon’s Cabinet from 2006 to 2012, playing a key role in setting the government’s security strategy during some of the worst and most embarrassing moments of bloody drug war that resulted in the deaths of over 100,000 people and tens of thousands more missing.
As security chief he was widely feared and in charge of Mexico’s federal police and the rest of the civilian security apparatus, giving him unrivaled access to intelligence about law enforcement operations and investigations that U.S. prosecutors say he shared with the Sinaloa cartel. Calderon’s administration was criticized at the time by many who argued it was not as aggressive against the Sinaloa cartel as it was against the gang’s rivals.
Before joining Calderon’s government, García Luna led Mexico’s equivalent of the FBI, the Federal Investigative Agency, under President Vicente Fox.
Author José Reveles called García Luna “the omnipotent cop of Vicente Fox and later Felipe Calderon,” and the questions that have arisen about him are numerous.
Reveles said that in 2005, during the Fox administration, agents from the Federal Investigative Agency “were capturing Zetas (members of a rival cartel) and turning them over to the Sinaloa cartel.” Anti-drug prosecutor Santiago Vasconcelos made that accusation public, but later died in a plane crash.
In December of that year, García Luna’s agents detained French citizen Florence Cassez and held her illegally until they could stage a media event. She was paraded before TV cameras and forced to participate in a staged, televised reenactment of her capture. She was held for seven years on kidnapping charges, but was released and became a cause celebre in her homeland.
In 2008, banners began appearing across the country claiming García Luna was working for the Sinaloa cartel.