Posted by Chuck B Almada Republished from Times Union
Written by Robert Galvin (Times Union)
“We have a very large facility and I can hide and protect inmates from exact situations like this,” Apple said. Earlier Wednesday, a former inmate, Felix Cruz-Lara, testified at the trial that he heard Luna make threats to Torres and his family while in the church of the jail several months ago. Cruz-Lara was in the jail with Luna and his reputed associates on federal cocaine trafficking charges unrelated to Luna's case.
“Mr. Luna said, 'You know if you testify you know what's going to happen. And if I can't get you, I'll get your family,'” Cruz-Lara testified. When asked by the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Jasper Mills, where Luna received his drugs from, Cruz-Lara testified, “Supposedly he was receiving some type of material — I don't know what kind of drug it was — from Ecuador and his sources had something to do with the family of El Chapo Guzman.”Guzman is the reputed boss of the Sinaloa drug cartel in Mexico. According to prosecutors, Luna was a high level dealer in a ring that peddled drugs from the Mexican cartel to West Palm Beach, Fla., to Corona, Queens, and eventually the Buffalo area.
Cruz-Lara testified that four months ago he was in the church of the jail when he heard Luna tell another co-defendant, Mayobanex “Company” Rodriquez, that drugs arrived from Ecuador hidden in fiberglass plantains that had been shipped with real plantains.
Prosecutors began their case after the July 2013 arrest of Miguel Hermenegildo on the Thruway in Bethlehem. Hermenegildo had a kilo of heroin while heading to Buffalo to move drugs. Sam Braverman, the attorney for Luna, said Cruz-Lara was not credible and told outright lies.