Mexico's ex-public security secretary arrested in US, accused of taking millions in bribes from 'El Chapo' cartel

Genaro Garcia Luna, Mexico’s former public security secretary, has been arrested in the U.S. on charges of taking millions of dollars in bribes from the cartel controlled by ruthless drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Garcia Luna, 51, who now lives in Florida, was arrested Monday in Dallas. The charges against him were contained in an indictment unsealed Tuesday in New York.

“Garcia Luna stands accused of taking millions of dollars in bribes from ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s Sinaloa Cartel while he controlled Mexico’s Federal Police Force and was responsible for ensuring public safety in Mexico,” Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said. “Today’s arrest demonstrates our resolve to bring to justice those who help cartels inflict devastating harm on the United States and Mexico, regardless of the positions they held while committing their crimes.”

Genaro García Luna when he was Mexico's Secretary of Public Security. (UNIVERSAL/Roberto Armocida/RCC)

Genaro García Luna when he was Mexico's Secretary of Public Security. (UNIVERSAL/Roberto Armocida/RCC)

Garcia Luna was Secretary of Public Security from 2006 to 2012, a role that put him in charge of Mexico's war against the drug cartels in thousands have died.

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The president at the time was Felipe Calderon, who said on Twitter Tuesday that he learned of Garcia Luna's arrest on social media and was unaware of the details.

"My position will always be in favor of justice and the law," he said.

Garcia Luna was accused of taking millions of dollars in bribes from El Chapo's Sinaloa Cartel from 2001 to 2012, a period that covers the years when he was Mexico’s top federal police official.

In exchange, Garcia Luna provided protection to the cartel for its drug trafficking activities, prosecutors say.

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A news release from Donoghue’s office said that on two occasions, the Sinaloa cartel personally delivered bribe payments to Garcia Luna in briefcases containing between three and five million dollars.

According to financial records obtained by the government, by the time Garcia Luna relocated to the United States in 2012, he had amassed a personal fortune of millions of dollars, the news release said.

During El Chapo’s trial in Brooklyn, former cartel member Jesus Zambada testified that he personally made at least $6 million in hidden payments to Garcia Luna.

Zambada told the jury the cash was delivered during two meetings at a restaurant in Mexico between the start of 2005 and the end of 2007.

Garcia Luna denied the claims.

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In July, El Chapo was sentenced to life in prison on drug smuggling charges.