Witness: García Luna worked for the Sinaloa Cartel 3:07
(WABNEWS Spanish) –– The trial for drug trafficking against Genaro García Luna, former Secretary of Public Security of Mexico, continued this Tuesday in New York.
One of the witnesses for the Attorney for the Eastern District of New York is Israel Ávila, a former drug trafficker who said he worked for the Sinaloa Cartel and specifically for Mario Pineda Villa, alias “MP.”RELATED
Ávila said that among his duties was to help Pineda Villa create accounting books that included all the cartel’s expenses and alleged payments to government officials.
When the Prosecutor’s Office asked Ávila if he knew the defendant, the witness said yes because, according to him, “Genaro García Luna worked for the Sinaloa Cartel.”
He explained that in the accounting books payments for García Luna appeared, but not under his real name but under “El Tartamudo” or “Metralleta,” which was how cartel members derogatorily referred to García Luna, Ávila said.
Ávila testified that between 2003 and 2012 he worked in real estate, but he started working for the cartel in 2005 when he rented a house to people he believed were agents of the Federal Investigation Agency of Mexico or AFI, now dissolved.
At the time of renting the house, he said that these people arrived dressed in AFI uniforms and in vans with official logos. Then, according to his testimony, the tenants killed a person inside the house and fled in a vehicle that was registered to that property under his name.
Ávila said that he was worried, but that he received a call from Pineda Villa summoning him to a place that upon arrival he realized was guarded by agents of the Army and the Federal and state police.
There he said that he met Pineda Villa who assured him he had nothing to worry about because everything was going to be fine. He said that “MP” asked him that he knew who the people who had rented his house worked for. Ávila still thought they were federal agents and said that when he replied “for Genaro García Luna and his people”, MP replied: “No, you are wrong. Neither you nor we work for Genaro García Luna, Genaro García Luna works for us “.
Ávila assured that after that incident he continued working for the cartel keeping the accounting books, providing them with planes, houses, warehouses, he even rented them houses for when they wanted to assassinate a rival.
He said that in December 2007, the DEA reported to its counterparts in Mexico because a plane was going to arrive at the Morelos airport without a flight plan. It was a plane from which he and other members of the cartel were going to receive 1,200 kilos of cocaine. When they got to the airport, they found federal police officers, but he said that instead of arresting them, the agents took them to the apron and helped them unload the drugs and take them out of the airport.
Then the cartel went to a hideout because, after they took the cocaine, the federal agents began an alleged operation. However, he said that the policemen at the airport gave him the opportunity to remove the drugs. “We got in and out with the same help from them,” Avila said.
Avila was arrested in Texas in 2012 and pleaded guilty to entering the United States for illegal purposes and distributing more than a kilo of cocaine. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison of which he has served ten. He plans to be released at the end of 2025.
This witness will continue his testimony this Wednesday with the cross-examination of García Luna’s defense.
Former police officer declares that drugs and weapons were in transit at the Mexico City airport during the administration of García Luna
During the trial against García Luna, a former agent of the Federal Police of Mexico said Tuesday that while he was stationed at the Benito Juárez International Airport, in the country’s capital, he observed movements that according to him revealed that drugs and weapons were transiting there when García Luna He was Secretary of Public Safety.
That testimony corresponds to Raúl Arellano Aguilera, who was a federal police officer in Mexico between 2003 and 2011, and who said that starting in 2007 he was assigned to the airport’s regional security division with a role of surveillance and passenger security.
In the trial that takes place in the Court of the Eastern District of New York, García Luna faces several counts of participation in an ongoing criminal enterprise and others of conspiracy to obtain, import and distribute thousands of kilograms of cocaine in the United States, in addition to allegedly have made false statements to US immigration officials. The former official has pleaded not guilty to all charges. His lawyer has questioned Arellano’s credibility as a prosecution witness.
During the hearing, Arellano said that over time he realized that this airport was used for the illegal trafficking of merchandise such as drugs, money and weapons.
Arellano affirmed that the airport chiefs gave some orders over the radio that he described as “strange”, and where they indicated to the police “from this moment on for 45, all in 35 until further notice”. He explained that this meant that until a new order was issued, they could not carry out searches or arrests. They were ordered to just show up and stay in their areas.
He also said that he observed that some colleagues, known as the “special group”, ignored orders, withdrew from their areas and returned without being reprimanded. They drove luxury sports cars or had jewelry, something that he described, with a salary equivalent to about US$425 every two weeks, it was difficult to access this type of property.
For its part, the defense of Genaro García Luna tried to discredit the testimony and present the former police officer as a resentful person.
During the cross-examination of lawyer César de Castro, Arellano Aguilera said that he did not agree with García Luna’s promotion to federal Secretary of Public Security because from his point of view he had not been promoted from within the police organization nor had he received training from that kind. He said that he did not agree, because people he knew in those positions “had worked for more than 30 years in the Police.”
Arellano Aguilera acknowledged that he never had direct contact with García Luna. She only saw him at official ceremonies and never had a conversation or meeting with him. The witness said that he understood from his superiors that part of the new secretary’s priorities was to combat drug cartels such as the Gulf Cartel, the Zetas, and the Beltrán-Leyva.