“Socalj” for Borderland Beat

Former Federal Police official Raúl Arellano Aguilera testified that he saw airport officials regularly receiving briefcases of money.
Raúl Arellano Aguilera who is a former member of the Federal Police (PF), and a witness in the trial against Genaro García Luna, detailed how drugs, money, and arms trafficking was supposedly allowed, by the Sinaloa Cartel and the Beltrán Leyva, at the Mexico City International Airport (AICM) “Benito Juárez”.

Arellano Aguilera affirmed that he saw that Oscar Moreno Villatoro, then General Director of Airports and Auxiliary Services (ASA), received suitcases with money; he likewise affirmed that Villatoro transferred his office to the AICM where he received visits, especially from directors of the airports of Tijuana, Baja California; Monterrey, Nuevo Leon; Guadalajara Jalisco; Toluca, State of Mexico; and, Cancun, Quintana Roo.

“Chief Villatoro reported to Ramón Pequeño García, Commissioner Facundo Rosas Rosas, and Secretary Genaro García Luna,” he said.

According to the witness, the visits by airport managers were between 2 and 4 times per month and they became even more “strange” since they “used to bring a briefcase”.

He recalled that in 2007, “the manager of the Toluca Airport had arrived. When he was going to enter Chief Villatoro’s office, a colleague was coming out of it and as they passed, they collided and his suitcase fell and when he opened it he was bringing money, dollars”.

“What did the manager of the Toluca Airport do?” asked prosecutor Marietou Doiuf. “Quickly bent down to pick them up and ran to Chief Villatoro’s office. I was very surprised,” said the former federal police officer, explaining that there was no reason for such a situation to occur.

He mentioned the names of the “Special Group”, as others called those who used to receive benefits, such as Commander Israel Espinoza, the second in command at the airport; Officer José Luis Martínez, Officer Mario Nieto, and Officer Ballón, who used to arrive at the AICM in luxury cars and buy jewelry.

“Could you buy a luxury car with your police salary?” questioned the prosecutor Arellano Aguilera. “No, never,” he replied. “Did you ever denounce them?” Doiuf insisted. “There was no point in him doing it since the bosses were aware because the order came by radio from the command office,” added the witness.

He also mentioned that PF commanders who reported during 2007, with García Luna, operated to let drug shipments through.

“They gave us a strange order over the radio […] From this moment on for 45 all in 35!”, the first number he explained indicated that “by superior order” and the second was “to be aware”.

Arellano Aguilera assured that the order to let passengers on certain flights pass without review was extended for a couple of hours and used to coincide with “flights arriving from South America or others departing for the United States or Europe.”

He testified that on several occasions he observed that some of his colleagues “ignored the order and disappeared” during the time that immobility was ordered and that they later returned “with the attitude of being very happy.”

“I got to hear that they were happy, even the bosses, Genaro, Facundo, Luis Cárdenas. They are happy, everyone received their share,” said the witness, in a statement that was objected to by García Luna’s defense and blocked by Judge Brian M. Cogan, before it was translated from Spanish to English, so that he could read it.  “They were talking about the suitcase, 79 or 40,” codes which referred to drugs and money, respectively.