Buggs for Borderland Beat

Genaro García Luna (GGL), The Fall

Segment 1
In lieu of the pending trial of Genaro García Luna (GGL), I want to share some observations and events related to GGL. Borderland Beat was already tracking the collusion of GGL starting around 2001 when GGL served in the newly created Agencia Federal de Investigación (AFI) under Mexican President Vicente Fox Quesada. Genaro García would go on to serve in the federal cabinet of President Felipe Calderón as Secretary of Public Security. 

Genaro García Luna is arrested on December 2019 in Dallas, TX

García Luna was arrested on December 9, 2019, by federal agents in Dallas, Texas, and he is presently pending trial in the Eastern District of New York to face charges of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise. It is alleged that García Luna received multimillion-dollar bribes from the Sinaloa Cartel in exchange for permitting the Sinaloa Cartel to operate with impunity in Mexico. “As alleged, for nearly two decades Garcia Luna betrayed those he was sworn to protect by accepting bribes from members of the Sinaloa Cartel to facilitate their crimes and empower their criminal enterprise,” stated Acting United States Attorney DuCharme. 

If convicted of the continuing criminal enterprise charge, Garcia Luna could face a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and a maximum of life in prison.


Genaro García Luna right hand man of Former President Felipe Calderón

Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa, a conservative Mexican politician served as the president of Mexico from December 2006 to November 2012. As a member of the National Action Party (Partido Acción Nacional, PAN) for 30 years, he had made the issue of organize crime the central part of his campaign for president. When he took office in 2006, he wasted no time in taking on the Mexican cartels head on. He dismantled the Tijuana cartel on the border of California, the Cartel del Golfo in the Gulf Coast, La Familia Michioacana (this was personal, as Calderon was from Michoacan) in the Tierra Caliente region and almost decimated the very powerful Juarez cartel. Calderón had entrusted his right-hand man and personal friend, Genaro García Luna to accomplish this task. He had appointed García Luna as Secretary of Public Security in his cabinet. 

García Luna started by rebuilding the Federal Police Force that began operating in June 2009 under a New Police Model. Felipe Calderon beefed up the federal police and changed their role to strictly take on the cartels. They became a huge nationwide tactical unit, operating in hot spots around the country. Under President Vicente Fox, from 2000 to 2006, there were 11,989 federal police. Under President Felipe Calderon, the number of federal police officers was increase to 34,846. This was in addition to the Mexican military that also played a key role in taking on the cartels. 

Felipe Calderon used the federal police extensively to combat the Mexican cartels

Calderón kept García Luna very close in his circle of trusted politicians. García Luna was considered untouchable and was Calderón’s favorite cabinet member.  Yes, Calderón managed to keep his campaign promise, he hit all the criminal cartels in Mexico hard, except for one.  There was a little secret that was starting to pop its ugly head. There were very credible rumors that García Luna was colluding with organized crime, specifically the Cártel del Pacífico under the very command of Ismael Zambada García, El Mayo. The group was mainly composed of the Beltrán-Leyva brothers that were based in the Mexican state of Morelos.

Garcia Luna and his collusion with organized crime

On October 19, 2008, Genaro García Luna (GGL) was travelling from Cuernavaca to Tepoztlán with an escort of 27 armed bodyguards. His escort was intercepted by approximately 10 armored Suburban vehicles carrying a large commando of heavily armed sicarios. García Luna ordered his bodyguards to stand down and comply with the directions given by the sicarios. The bodyguards were stripped of their weapons and were blindfolded. They were not just concerned for the dignitary they were supposed to protect, but for their own safety. Some of the bodyguards overheard one of the sicarios yell at García Luna, “This is the first and last warning, so that you know that we can reach you anytime we want, if you do not comply with the mutual agreement we forged.” 

The day Arturo Beltran Leyva reminded GGL his role

It is said that the voice came from Arturo Beltran Leyva, a top lieutenant for the Cartel de Sinaloa (CDS). García Luna left with Beltran Leyva abandoning his escorts to their fate. The bodyguards did now know where García Luna went and what he did during those four long hours he was away meeting with Arturo Beltran Leyva. When García Luna returned, the sicarios returned the weapons to the bodyguards and they proceeded with the escort of García Luna. The bodyguards, who were professionally trained to protect dignitaries and high-level politicians, felt humiliated. They were not happy with how they were treated, while García Luna was complicit with the sicarios.

The bodyguards narrated the details of the event in a letter sent to the legislators of the Senate in order to exposed what they say was how dangerous it is to grant more power to the SSP (Secretaría de Seguridad Pública or Secretariat of Public Safety) under the control of GGL. A good portion of the high-level officials of the SSP were at the service of drug traffickers. According to the investigations carried out by the Office of the Assistant Attorney General for Specialized Investigation in Organized Crime (SIEDO), many of the officials closest to García Luna seem to be corrupted by drug traffickers. Under the watch of the Calderon administration, evidence started to emerge that the SSP was one of the institutions most infiltrated by the Sinaloa cartel and other criminal organizations.

The only interview of El Mayo by Proceso Magazine

In 2010 Zambada did an interview with Julio Scherer Garcia of Proceso Magazine. He criticized the government’s effort to take him down, saying it was a little too late, if the goal was to hurt the drug trade. “The problem with the narco business is that it involves millions of dollars. How do you dominate that?” Zambada said. “As for the bosses, locked up, dead or extradited, their replacements are already standing by. The government’s drug war,” he said, “is already lost.” 

Why lost? 

“The narcotics trade and everything that goes along with it,” Zambada responded, “are inside the society, it is deeply rooted in corruption, it always has.”

El Mayo is the last powerful boss of the old guard. All the others have either died or are in prison. There are not many pictures that have been made public of Mayo Zambada. El Mayo has managed to avoid capture by keeping a low profile and by corrupting the Mexican government at the highest level.


On the next short  segment, I will cover how the arrest of one of the Beltran Leyva brothers, resulted in the betrayal of GGL and CDS, that would ultimately unleash a bloody war between each other and the downfall of the BLO (Beltran Leyva Organization).