On Monday, Oscar Nava Valencia, a drug trafficker known as "El Lobo" or "the wolf," testified in a New York federal court during the trial of former Mexican security secretary Genaro García Luna, who is accused of taking bribes from the Sinaloa Carlet.
Associated Press reports that Nava Valencia said García Luna and another top Mexican cop told him "they were going to stand with us." García Luna is accused of taking millions of dollars to allow the Mexican Sinaloa cartel, while it was run by kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, to ship cocaine into the United States without interference from authorities.
Garcia Luna, who was arrested in 2019 in Texas, was a former head of Mexico’s Federal Investigation Agency and the Secretary of Mexico’s Public Security.
Nava Valencia testified that he paid off high-level government officials, including García Luna, with a $5 million bribe to set free a shipping container holding 10 tons of cocaine.
The container had been seized in 2007 in the Mexican Pacific Coast port of Manzanillo and was never released, but instead was incinerated.
Nava Valencia told the jury he later met García Luna in a countryside cartel home near the central Mexican city of Cuernavaca. According to Nava Valencia, García Luna claimed he was helpless because a combined US/Mexico Marine force assisted in the seizure of the drugs and monitored the situation closely.
Nava Valencia testified García Luna then gave him a document that claimed the US knew about the cocaine, which enabled him to tell the Columbian cocaine suppliers that the problem originated with them, not on the cartel side. The Columbian cocaine suppliers then ended their demand for $50 million in reimbursement for the incinerated cocaine.
Nava Valencia told the jury he paid another $500,000 followed by $2.5 million for another meeting in an office above a car wash in Guadalajara.
The defense for Garcia Luna, who has pleaded not guilty, have said that the state's case relies on the testimony of "self-interested criminals" such as Nava Valencia, who was formerly the head of Mexico’s Milenio drug cartel and previously pleaded guilty to cocaine conspiracy charges. The Milenio cartel had ties to the Sinaloa cartel during the height of El Chapo's time at the helm.
According to the Eastern District of New York, between 2001 and 2012, "while occupying high-ranking law enforcement positions in the Mexican government," Garcia Luna received millions of dollars in bribes from the Sinaloa Cartel "in exchange for providing protection for its drug trafficking activities."The bribery accusations arose against Garcia Luna based on testimony from El Chapo's 2019 trial. US attorney for the eastern district of New York Breon Peace said in a letter sent earlier this month to Judge Brian M Cogan, "While holding public office, the defendant used his official positions to assist the Sinaloa Cartel, a notorious Mexican drug cartel, in exchange for multimillion-dollar bribes."
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