NEW YORK (AP) – A judge on Monday ordered a three-month court hearing to be postponed in the case of Mexico’s former secretary of public security, Genaro García Luna, due to delays in logistics and trial preparation for New York prosecutors and Luna’s attorney. are experiencing the coronavirus pandemic.
The hearing scheduled for Thursday in Eastern District Court in New York will now take place in October, Judge Brian Cogan ordered, after the prosecution requested the adjournment. García Luna is accused in New York of three charges of criminal association for cocaine trafficking and false testimony.
In addition to the difficulty that prosecutors have in meeting in prison with possible witnesses for Luna’s trial due to the pandemic, the prosecution ensures that it is still waiting for a response from several governments, including the Mexican, in its request that they share evidence on the former Mexican official.
The postponement comes after the prosecution on Friday sent more than 60,000 pages in documents considered as evidence for the future trial. Prosecutors said those tests contain statements by García Luna, financial documents, intercepted communications and files from the Mexican police.
Prosecutors also said that they are likely to present evidence of 43 kilos of cocaine seized in Brooklyn in 2002, in addition to 20 kilos of cocaine seized from a ship off the coast of Panama in 2007. They also plan to present evidence related to 22 kilos of cocaine and four kilos of heroin confiscated in New Jersey in 2009.
García Luna, who was Secretary of Public Security from late 2006 to 2012 under the government of former President Felipe Calderón, has pleaded not guilty to the prosecutors’ accusations, who allege that he received enormous amounts of money from the Joaquín “El Chapo ”Guzmán in exchange for allowing him to smuggle cocaine freely.
García Luna, who lived in Miami, was arrested in December 2019.
During the trial of “El Chapo” held in late 2018 and early 2019 in New York, the jury heard former member of the Sinaloa Cartel, Jesús Zambada, testify that he personally delivered at least six million dollars to García Luna in payments clandestine on behalf of his older brother, the head of the Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada cartel.
César De Castro, García Luna’s lawyer, has repeatedly said that Zambada’s accusations were “absurd” and that there is no evidence of those meetings.