Yaqui for Borderland Beat
US prosecutors ask the judge to postpone the García Luna hearing for 2 months, to put together a million pages of evidence to prove the charges against Genaro García Luna:
US State Department prosecutors, including Mark J. Lesko, asked Judge Brian M. Cogan, to postpone the hearing scheduled for April 19 in the Eastern District Court of New York for two months in the case. Genaro García Luna, former head of the Federal Public Security Secretariat (SSP) during the government of Felipe Calderón Hinojosa.
Likewise, assistant prosecutors Michael Robotti, Ryan Harris, Erin Reid and Felipe Pilmar announced in a memorandum, the “production of additional discovery on March 1, 2021, for a total of more than 32, 000 pages of documents, as well as a hard disk of recordings of the accused ”.
In addition, US State Department prosecutors explained to the federal judge, that they expect more evidence from abroad and through requests from the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), so they hope that for the next hearing they already will have completed “a million pages of documents and voluminous intercepted and recorded communications.”
In addition to this, the prosecutors told Judge Cogan that they have produced most of these materials and announced that both parties have faced delays in preparing for the trial ”all due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has prevented “the Government from meeting with imprisoned witnesses and limitations on the defense attorney’s ability to meet with the accused.”
Finally, Lesko informed the federal judge that the prosecutors continued to work on the litigation in accordance with the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA), which will take them several more months, but that in the end they hope to obtain classified information that allows them to further strengthen their “pre-trial” case, whose hearings have been postponed on at least six occasions.
PANAMA Delivers New Evidence to the US Against García Luna:
On March 3, the United States Department of Justice presented new evidence against Genaro García Luna, former head of the Federal Public Security Secretariat (SSP) during the government of Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, including evidence provided by the Panamanian authorities.
Through official letter MPR / RCH / EMR F. # 2019R00927 -dated March 1, 2021 and signed by Seth DuCharme, prosecutor for the Eastern District of New York-, the Department notified García Luna’s defense of the discovery and accumulation of new evidence against the former Mexican federal official, among them “files of the Panamanian judicial authority, foliated with the numbers 0000981467-0000983920″.
According to the US authorities, up to that moment, 974,000 documents had been obtained as evidence against García Luna. In the communication of the prosecutor DuCharme, addressed to the lawyer César DeCastro, who heads the defense of the former head of the SSP of Mexico, it was explained that among the new evidence there are photographs and videos.
In addition to documents from the Mexican judicial authority, copies of the passport of the former Mexican official, financial reports, documentation from the US Department of State and property records, as well as excerpts from a book and “a letter written by the accused with a draft translation, foliated with the numbers 0001012315-0001012327 ”.
In addition to this, there were recordings of telephone calls made from the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC, for its acronym in English), in Brooklyn, where García Luna is being held, as well as “documents from the Mexican government related to a seizure procedure against the accused, accompanied by draft translations, numbered 0001012698-0001013086 ”.
“Regarding the notice of the Mexican confiscation, the [United States] Government will communicate with you separately to organize the personal delivery of those documents to the accused, in accordance with the procedures requested by the Mexican Government,” as established by the official letter of the US Department of Justice.
The prosecutor for the Eastern District of New York also notified García Luna’s lawyers that the United States judicial authority had a hard disk with recordings of the accused, “foliated with the number 0001012333, which is protected material.
Our Client is not “EL CHAPO,” says Garcia Luna’s Lawyer:
On December 28, 2020, César de Castro, García Luna’s lawyer, said in a document sent to the Eastern District Court of New York that his client “is not ‘El Chapo’”, referring to the Sinaloan Capo Joaquín Guzmán Loera.
This is because the litigant asked the Court located in Brooklyn that the witnesses who appear against his client be public, this because the prosecutors of the United States Department of Justice asked that their identities be protected, because they fear that the former Mexican federal official or his associates may make attempts against their lives.
“Mr. García Luna is not ‘El Chapo’. He does not represent any risk to the safety of the witnesses ”, indicated an excerpt from the letter, posted on the social network Twitter by journalist Keegan Hamilton, from Vice News.
In the letter, García Luna’s lawyer pointed out that the former Mexican federal official is “a model prisoner”, that he has not incurred any infraction during his confinement and that he has only maintained communication with his family.
At the same time, he pointed out that “[García Luna's] suffering is of a much higher level than any suffered by Mr. Guzmán Loera,” former leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, convicted and imprisoned in the US.
On December 2, 2020, New York prosecutors asked Judge Brian Cogan to postpone the release of the evidence against García Luna, in order to protect the identity of the witnesses.
“The defendant and his conspirators could carry out a campaign of harassment, intimidation and / or violence against witnesses and their families before trial, to punish them for their cooperation, dissuade them from testifying against him and thus curb the cooperation of others”, then the prosecutors indicated.
“We are sure that none of your communications will lead to the conclusion that García Luna represents any type of threat to the safety of the witnesses or any other person,” De Castro insisted in the letter.
In a letter to Judge Cogan, signed by U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme, it is also requested that the documents remain classified until March 1, 2021.
“A protection order that allows the disclosure of the materials would not be to the detriment of the accused and would reduce the risk of harm to potential witnesses in a trial -by identifying them-, as well as the risk of exposing the investigations in progress that the materials they identify ”, says the letter.
The text added that such materials “provide information that could be used to identify potential witnesses in a trial, and whose identities have not been revealed to the accused, his defense or the public.”
Among the documents that were requested to be kept confidential were recorded communications, financial and public property records, photographs and “others, that would reveal the source of the material.”
The petition, according to US federal prosecutors, would allow “the protection of potential witnesses, their families and the integrity of the investigations,” against García Luna.
The letter added that both the witnesses and their families “would face serious security risks if their cooperation with the [United States] government and their quality as potential trial witnesses were revealed.”
On December 6, 2020, Martha Bárcena Coqui, then the Mexican ambassador to the United States, requested in a formal note before the US State Department, the extradition of García Luna.
A day later, on December 7, 2020, García Luna appeared before Judge Brian M. Cogan, in the Eastern District Court of New York, in the United States. During the brief hearing, a new hearing date was set for February 17, 2021.
While César de Castro, lawyer for the former Mexican federal official, complained to the US judge that since last October 20 and up to this day, he had not spoken with his client, and that meetings with García were canceled up to three times without explanation.
The former head of the Mexican Federal SSP , Genaro García Luna has been in preventive detention for a year in the Metropolitan Detention Center, located in Brooklyn, where he is now isolated due to the increase in cases of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (which causes the COVID disease -19) in place.
Faced with this situation, De Castro requested a postponement of 60 days to be able to see the evidence against his client. The lawyer requested access to the evidence, while prosecutors Michael Robotti and Ryan Harris acknowledged that they were unaware of this situation and agreed to begin coordination with the defense and the personnel who have García Luna in custody.
At that time, the prosecutor Seth DuCharme mentioned that they had 955,000 pages of evidence, the majority coming from an exploration of electronic devices, photos and videos of García Luna, and they also had a “voluminous” amount of intercepted communications.
In addition, it reported that the District Attorney for the Eastern District of New York awaited responses to various requests for evidence it made to foreign governments, through the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.
GARCÍA LUNA Pled Innocent of Charges:
On October 7, 2020, the former head of the Federal SSP pleaded not guilty to the five charges brought against him by Judge Brian M. Cogan, during a hearing held in the Eastern District Court of New York, in the United States. .
Remotely, García Luna listened to the reading of the five new charges of the expanded indictment, which was added to the case last July, which indicate that the former Mexican federal official participated in drug shipments to the United States.
“The accusation indicates that you were the head of several accomplices and made a fortune thanks to these shipments,” Cogan told García Luna, who pleaded not guilty to all five charges, including for allegedly receiving bribes from the Cartel of Sinaloa and the Beltrán Leyvas, to allow drug trafficking and false statements.
The US Department of Justice presented on September 29, 2020, a package of evidence against García Luna, which includes intercepted communications, videos and documents from the Mexican Authorities.
US also Accuses those close to GARCÍA LUNA:
On July 30, 2020, the New York Eastern District Attorney’s Office charged Ramón Eduardo Pequeno García and Luis Cárdenas Palomino, former Coordinator of the Crime Prevention Intelligence Division and former head of the Regional Security Division, both of the Federal Police (PF), respectively, for drug trafficking in collaboration with the Sinaloa Cartel.
As reported by journalist Alan Feuer, both former federal officials, along with Genaro García Luna, were involved in the murder of a Colombian informant from the US Drug Control Administration (DEA, for its acronym in English); more than a decade ago”, according to “ a renegade of the cartel ” who testified.
“The informant was giving information to the US authorities about the cocaine shipments controlled by Arturo Beltrán Leyva, Guzmán’s former partner in Sinaloa […] Sergio Villarreal Barragán [alias 'El Grande'], affirms that García Luna received the name of the informant of a corrupt official of the PF in Bogotá [Colombia] ”, indicated Feuer in his account of the social network Twitter.
“Pequeno and Palomino helped give the name to Beltrán Leyva. The informant was kidnapped and tortured. After confessing that he worked for the DEA, he was assassinated, “added the journalist, New York correspondent for The New York Times, in a series of Tweets.
The US Department of Justice also charged García Luna with the crime of continuing criminal enterprise for collaboration with the Sinaloa Cartel, and presented three charges of importing cocaine and international conspiracy against Pequeno García and Cárdenas Palomino.
NY Attorney’s Office Updated Accusations Against GARCÍA LUNA:
The District Attorney for the Eastern District of New York updated the accusation originally filed against García Luna on December 4, 2020, which only included three counts of drug trafficking and one of false statements.
Consequently, the Court for the Eastern District of New York was asked to order the apprehension of Pequeno García and Cárdenas Palomino, whom the Prosecutor’s Office characterized as “fugitives” in a press release.
To support the criminal enterprise accusation against García Luna, New York prosecutors mentioned six massive shipments of cocaine insured in the United States between 2002 and 2008, totaling 50 tons.
During that period, García Luna was head of the Criminal Investigation Agency (AIC) of the then Attorney General’s Office (PGR), and as of December 2006, head of the Mexican Federal SSP.
“Between 2002 and 2007, García Luna allegedly helped at least six shipments of cocaine for a total of more than 50,000 kilos of cocaine. In addition, the defendants placed other corrupt officials in positions of power in certain areas of Mexico controlled by the Sinaloa Cartel, ”said the statement from the US Department of Justice.
Earlier, on July 27, 2020, New York prosecutors and César de Castro, a lawyer for the former Mexican federal official, said they were experiencing problems meeting potential witnesses for García Luna’s trial, in the various US prisons, due to the Covid pandemic crisis.
On July 24, 2020, the Prosecutor’s Office for the Eastern District of New York delivered to García Luna’s defense attorneys, a package of evidence that he will use for the eventual trial against the former Mexican federal official, including cocaine and heroin seized in the period from 2002 to 2009.
The evidence against the former head of the Mexican Federal SSP includes 43.8 kilos of cocaine seized in Brooklyn on May 24, 2002, when García Luna was General Coordinator of the Federal Investigation Agency (AFI), of the now defunct Attorney General’s Office of the Republic (PGR).
In addition, 20 kilos of cocaine confiscated in the Gatun Ship, near the coast of Panama, will be presented in March 2007, which were part of a seizure of 21 tons of the narcotic in said vessel, just days after the Mexican Government found $205 million US Dollars in cash at the home of businessman Zhenli Ye Gon, in Lomas de Chapultepec, Mexico City.
Likewise, the New York Prosecutor’s Office – which depends on the United States Department of Justice – will also exhibit before the Eastern District Court of New York – where the trial against García Luna will take place – 22 kilos of cocaine and 4 kilos of heroin insured in Palisades, New Jersey , in July 2009.
García Luna’s defense, headed by attorney César de Castro, also received at least 60,000 pages of documents that are not public, as part of the procedure known as evidentiary discovery against the former Mexican federal official.
The documents include transcripts of intercepted communications, financial, banking and business records, files provided by the Government of Mexico, as well as statements made by García Luna himself, who was arrested on December 10, 2019 in Dallas, Texas.
“The Government will call to testify during the trial experts on forensic analysis of drugs, methods of money laundering from international drug trafficking, and on translation from Spanish to English,” added the New York Prosecutor’s Office, which has not yet given access to the defense to the identity, conclusions and professional history of said experts.
In April and May 2020, the New York Prosecutor’s Office had already delivered other documents to the defense, referring to the life that García Luna led in Florida, where he moved after his departure from the Mexican Federal Government at the end of 2012, as well as other intercepted communications.
In addition, on June 1, 2020, prosecutors for the Eastern District of New York provided García Luna’s attorneys with evidence against the former Mexican federal official, including emails, photographs, financial transactions, and intercepted communications.
In two letters available in the electronic system of the US federal courts, New York prosecutors said they gave the evidence to the litigants, in addition to requesting reciprocal evidence from García Luna’s defense.
As reported by the US news agency , The Associated Press (AP), in both letters, the New York prosecutors also said that they handed over to García Luna’s defense attorneys, money transactions, property transactions, reports from law enforcement agencies and statements by the former Mexican federal official.
Note: See Chivis’s Post at the BB Archive link below for the legal indictment
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