Mexico has launched a lawsuit in Miami, Florida against former security chief Genaro Garcia Luna and a network of companies run by him and his associates, hoping to recover illegally obtained assets, Mexico’s Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF) said on Tuesday.
Ex-Security Minister Garcia Luna pled not guilty last year to U.S. charges involving a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme allegedly designed to boost the Sinaloa cartel once headed by jailed drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
Garcia Luna led Mexico’s Federal Investigation Agency 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 time in government to ensure safe passage for its drugs, obtain information about rival cartels, and learn about Mexican probes into its activities.
The UIF said the lawsuit, the Mexican agency’s first in the United States, covers 39 companies and trusts belonging to Garcia Luna, his associates or family members.
“The litigation 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,” UIF said in a statement.
Garcia Luna, who is in jail, had been living in Florida prior to his December 2019 arrest in Dallas.
UIF said the case was presented in a Florida court since the state is “where a significant number of companies and properties associated with acts of political corruption and money laundering that make up the litigation were identified”.