“Socalj” for Borderland Beat

Former Mexican Secretary of Public Security Genaro Garcia Luna was found guilty of working with the Sinaloa and BLO cartels.

The former face of Mexico’s war on drugs has been convicted by a US jury of drug trafficking, conspiracy, and lying about it on his immigration application. The guilty verdict came after a 4-week trial and 3 days of jury deliberation in a US federal court in Brooklyn, New York.

Genaro Garcia Luna was found guilty of accepting millions of dollars in bribe money and allowing tons of drugs to be trafficked into the US.

Garcia Luna was arrested in Texas in 2019 and pleaded not guilty to the charges. He is the highest-ranking former Mexican official ever to be tried in the US as the Mexican equivalent of the head of the FBI.

Garcia Luna served as the Secretary of Public Security during the administration of President Felipe Calderon between 2006 and 2012. Before that, he led the now-defunct Federal Investigation Agency from 2001 to 2006.

Guilty on All Counts

The jury deliberated for 3 days (spanning a holiday weekend) to find Luna guilty on all counts. He was charged with several federal crimes stemming from, according to multiple witnesses receiving bribe money and also actively participating in drug smuggling with the Sinaloa Cartel and its offshoot, the BLO, namely Arturo Beltran Leyva and “El Rey” Zambada Garcia.

Count 1 Engaging in a Continuing Criminal Enterprise

This charge requires three or more offenses to have been proven by the prosecution. The violations listed included 6 charges of International Distribution of several tons of cocaine. 
This requires proving an organizational structure and long-term effort beyond common conspiracy to traffic narcotics. 
This charge alone carries a minimum 20-year sentence and up to a life sentence. Fines and forfeitures are also possible. With Luna’s vast wealth and properties in the Miami area, this is likely to happen as well.
The additional counts are related to conspiracy charges for the various trafficking violations under the CCE (Continuing Criminal Enterprise). Fines can be in the millions and technically, the death penalty can be sought if the trafficking charges resulted in a death, but it is unlikely in this case.

Count 2 International Cocaine Distribution Conspiracy

This charge alone carries a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison. 

Count 3 Cocaine Distribution & Possession Conspiracy

This charge alone carries a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison.

Count 4 Cocaine Importation Conspiracy

This charge alone carries a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison.

Count 5 Making a False Statement

This charge was related to the fact that Luna checked the box stating that he had “Not committed a crime.” on his immigration forms when applying for his US Visa in 2013. Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former FBI Director Robert Mueller both wrote letters of support for Luna’s application at the time. His defense sought to introduce these to support his connections with US lawmakers and officials but the Judge denied it and stated that they could call these people as character witnesses if they wanted to offer that defense.
This charge alone carries up to 5 years in prison and the possibility of deportation and inadmissibility on its own.

Possible Prison Sentence

Based on the mandatory minimum sentence recommendations for each of the 5 charges, Luna faces a minimum sentence of 55 years and the possibility of life in federal prison. Judge Brian Cogan has set the sentencing hearing for June 27, 2023.
Previously in 2019, Judge Cogan sentenced “El Chapo” to life in prison plus 30 years to run consecutive to the life sentence for being a principal leader of a Continuing Criminal Enterprise. However, Chapo was convicted of multiple other counts including a murder conspiracy. 
The Mexican Government has put forth that Luna led a so-called “Genaro Garcia Luna Cartel” of corrupt policemen and officials in an effort to put him at the helm of a criminal enterprise.