A superseding indictment was returned today in federal court in Central Islip, New York, charging Genaro Garcia Luna, the former Secretary of Public Security in Mexico from 2006 to 2012, with engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise. Luis Cardenas Palomino and Ramon Pequeno Garcia, former high-ranking Mexican law enforcement officials who worked under Garcia Luna, are each charged with three counts of cocaine trafficking conspiracy. In exchange for multimillion-dollar bribes, the defendants allegedly permitted the Sinaloa Cartel to operate with impunity in Mexico. Garcia Luna was arrested on December 9, 2019 by federal agents in Dallas, Texas, and he is presently pending trial in the Eastern District of New York to face these charges. Cardenas Palomino and Pequeno Garcia are presently fugitives.
Seth D. DuCharme, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, announced the superseding indictment.
"As alleged, for nearly two decades Garica Luna betrayed those he was sworn to protect by accepting bribes from members of the Sinaloa Cartel to facilitate their crimes and empower their criminal enterprise,” stated Acting United States Attorney DuCharme. “Through today’s superseding indictment, Garcia Luna and his co-conspirators will face justice for offenses involving the importation and the distribution of massive quantities of dangerous drugs into the United States.” Mr. DuCharme thanked the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) offices in New York and Houston for their work on the case.
As set forth in the superseding indictment and other court filings, from 2001 to 2012, while occupying high-ranking law enforcement positions in the Mexican government, Garcia Luna received millions of dollars in bribes from the Sinaloa Cartel in exchange for providing protection for its drug trafficking activities. From 2001 to 2005, Garcia Luna led Mexico’s Federal Investigation Agency, and from 2006 to 2012, he served as Mexico’s Secretary of Public Security, controlling Mexico’s Federal Police Force. Cardenas Palomino and Pequeno Garcia also were high-level Mexican law enforcement officials who worked under Garcia Luna during this time. They each received millions of dollars in bribes from the Sinaloa Cartel.
In exchange for the payment of bribes, between January 2001 and the present, the defendants abused their public positions by allowing the Sinaloa Cartel to obtain safe passage for its drug shipments, and by providing sensitive law enforcement information about investigations into the Cartel, and information about rival drug cartels, thereby facilitating the importation of multi‑ton quantities of cocaine and other drugs into the United States. For example, between 2002 and 2007, Garcia Luna allegedly aided at least six cocaine shipments totaling more than 50,000 kilos of cocaine. Additionally, the defendants placed other corrupt officials in positions of power in certain areas of Mexico controlled by the Sinaloa Cartel. On at least two occasions, the Cartel personally delivered bribe payments to Garcia Luna in briefcases containing millions of dollars.
The charges in the indictment are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
If convicted of the continuing criminal enterprise charge, Garcia Luna faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and a maximum of life imprisonment. If convicted of a drug conspiracy charge, Cardenas Palomino and Pequeno Garcia each face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment and a maximum of life imprisonment.
The investigation was led by the New York Strike Force, a crime-fighting unit comprising federal, state and local law enforcement agencies supported by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. The Strike Force is based at the DEA’s New York Division and includes agents and officers of the DEA, New York City Police Department, New York State Police, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Secret Service, United States Marshals Service, New York National Guard, Clarkstown Police Department, U.S. Coast Guard, Port Washington Police Department and New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by the Eastern District’s International Narcotics and Money Laundering Section and Public Integrity Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael P. Robotti, Ryan Harris and Erin Reid are in charge of the prosecution.
GENARO GARCIA LUNA
LUIS CARDENAS PALOMINO
RAMON PEQUENO GARCIA
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 19-CR-576 (BMC)