Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Mexico wants U.S. to probe of all officials with ties to ex-minister arrested for corruption

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Mexico’s president on Monday urged Washington to investigate “all” officials, including members of elite U.S. law enforcement agencies, with ties to a former Mexican security minister accused of taking bribes from a top drug gang.

The arrest of ex-Security Minister Genaro Garcia Luna in Dallas late last year sent shockwaves across Mexico, where he had spearheaded a militarized assault on powerful drug gangs beginning under former President Felipe Calderon in 2006.

Garcia Luna was subsequently indicted on charges of accepting millions of dollars in bribes from the Sinaloa Cartel, the gang once led by drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Speaking at his regular morning news conference, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador called for a wide-ranging inquiry, suggesting that such an investigation could uncover wrongdoing by more than just one official.

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“The U.S. government, now that it has begun an investigation, should delve deeper and also investigate officials” with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Lopez Obrador said.

The investigation should cover “all those who intervened during this period because without a doubt, there was cooperation,” the president added.

Lopez Obrador suggested that an inquiry could uncover “criminal association” among officials from both governments.

His call was prompted by a question about comments by former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson to Mexican magazine Proceso published at the weekend in which she suggested both governments knew about possible corruption by Garcia Luna.

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“The information we obtained – in the State Department – was drawn from U.S. officials, but it came from Mexicans, they were the ones who received and had the most information about Garcia Luna’s corruption,” Proceso quoted her as saying.

Jacobson afterwards clarified on Twitter that she had never seen any “corroborated” evidence of Garcia Luna’s involvement in drug trafficking and that “in an environment of many rumors, one is always cautious about working with officials.”

A former FBI official in Mexico and an ex-CIA official both worked at a security company run by Garcia Luna until 2018.

Earlier this year, a U.S. judge signalled that the drug corruption trial of the former minister will likely be prolonged due to its “complex” nature.

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