Mexico seeks to recover $700 million from former security official on trial in US for taking bribes from Sinaloa cartel

Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said Mexico has filed a lawsuit in Florida, where Garcia Luna resided after leaving Mexico.

Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal QC
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Monday that his country will seek to recover $700 million from former Mexican security official Genaro Garcia Luna, who is currently on trial in New York for allegedly coordinating with the same cartel he was meant to go after.

Lopez Obrador said that his government is looking to recover the $700 million that Garcia Luna allegedly earned from the Sinaloa cartel, most famously known for being led by El Chapo Guzman. Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said Mexico has filed a lawsuit in Florida, where Garcia Luna resided after leaving Mexico, according to the Associated Press.

Garcia Luna pleaded not guilty to five counts that carry possible sentences of 10 years to life in prison. Garcia Luna's legal team, headed by lawyer Cesar de Castro, said that the allegations were false and pointed to a lack of evidence from US authorities.

The US government alleges that Garcia Luna started working with the Sinaloa cartel as far back as January 2001, when he was working in police intelligence. Garcia Luna was the architect of then-president Felipe Calderon's anti-cartel crackdown. Prosecutors say that Garcia Luna headed the plan while agreeing not to interfere with drug shipments and even targeted rival cartel members for arrest.

One Sinaloa cartel member had even said during Guzman's trial that he had delivered suitcases containing $6 million USD in cash to Garcia Luna at a restaurant in 2005, 2006, and 2007. His attorneys say that the government is relying mainly on witnesses who are seeking revenge, as Garcia Luna had been key to imprisoning them. 

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