Drug lord claims former Mexican Security Minister Garcia Luna received bribes from Sinaloa Cartel

File – File image of Mexico’s former Minister of Public Security Genaro Garcia Luna – -/NOTIMEX/dpa

Beltran Leyva Cartel lieutenant Sergio Villarreal Barragan, alias ‘El Grande’, has claimed that he saw former Mexican Security Minister Genaro Garcia Luna, who was on the «payroll» of the Sinaloa Cartel, receive bribes.

Villarreal was the first witness for the prosecution in the case opened in the Eastern District Court of Brooklyn, New York, against Garcia Luna. In his appearance he has stated that he «saw in several meetings» García Luna receiving bribes from this group, according to the Mexican newspaper ‘El Universal’.

«He would give us information about operations against the cartel. He helped us to put and remove agents in any part of Mexico and shared information so that we could hit our rivals,» he said. «It was thanks to García Luna’s help that this cartel grew so much,» he added.

Villarreal explained that at that time he was in charge of delivering the bribes given by the cartel and it was in those meetings where he met the then Public Security Minister during the Felipe Calderón administration.

The prosecution has argued that Garcia Luna had a «dirty job: receiving bribes from the Sinaloa Cartel» and was therefore on the «payroll» of the Sinaloa Cartel. «He turned the police into a mercenary armed force that acted on behalf of the cartel,» it has pointed out.

Defense attorney César de Castro has responded that there is «not a single proof, photo» or plausible evidence of the accusations against García Luna.

Villarreal, a key player in the Beltrán Leyva cartel and known for his bloodthirsty and cruel character, is the first of the 70 witnesses to be presented by the prosecution, including drug trafficker Jesús ‘Rey’ Zambada, who brought up García Luna’s name in the trial against Joaquín Guzmán Loera, alias ‘El Chapo’. Also on the witness list is former prosecutor Édgar Veytia, alias ‘El Diablo’, convicted of corruption.