Mexico files US lawsuit against former Sinaloa cartel security chief

MEXICO CITY, Sept.21 (Reuters) – Mexico has launched a lawsuit in Miami, Fla., Against former security chief Genaro Garcia Luna and a network of companies run by him and his associates, in the hope of recovering illegally obtained assets, Mexico’s Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF) said Tuesday.

Former Security Minister Garcia Luna last year pleaded not guilty to US charges over a multi-million dollar corruption program allegedly designed to bolster the Sinaloa cartel once led by drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Garcia Luna headed the Federal Investigation Agency of Mexico from 2001 to 2005, was Secretary of Public Security from 2006 to 2012, and was once considered a leader in Mexico’s efforts to combat drug trafficking .

But U.S. prosecutors say the Sinaloa cartel bribed Garcia Luna throughout his tenure in government to ensure the safe passage of his drugs, obtain information on rival cartels and learn about Mexican investigations into his activities.

The UIF said the lawsuit, the Mexican agency’s first in the United States, involved 39 companies and trusts owned by Garcia Luna, his associates or members of his family.

“The lawsuit alleges that the defendants are members of a large group of companies created and used by Garcia Luna and his co-conspirators to hide resources derived from acts of corruption,” the UIF said in a statement.

Garcia Luna could not be reached immediately for comment.

Garcia Luna, who is in prison, lived in Florida before his arrest in December 2019 in Dallas.

The UIF said the case went to a Florida court because the state is “where a significant number of businesses and properties associated with acts of political corruption and money laundering which constitute the dispute have been identified “.

Reporting by Diego Ore and Anthony Esposito; Writing by Drazen Jorgic Editing by Alistair bell

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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