February 9, 2023

“El Futbolista” declares about the alleged complicity of the Federal Police of Mexico with the Sinaloa Cartel

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(CNN Spanish) — Another witness from the Prosecutor’s Office in the trial against Genaro García Luna, former Secretary of Public Security of Mexico, testified this Wednesday about the alleged complicity of the now extinct Mexican Federal Police with the Sinaloa Cartel. This is the third day of testimonies in the drug trafficking trial that is taking place in New York against the former official.

The drug trafficker Tirso Martínez, alias “El Futbolista” —convicted in the United States in 2020—, concentrated his testimony on the years 2001 to 2003, when García Luna was director of the today dissolved Federal Investigation Agency (AFI). The tasks and agents of the Federal Police, for their part, were incorporated into the current National Guard. Martínez is known as “El Futbolista” for having owned the teams Gallos Blancos, from Querétaro, and Los Freseros, from Irapuato, in the state of Guanajuato.

Martínez acknowledged that he never gave bribes directly to García Luna, but said that he did make payments of between US$100,000 to US$200,000 to other police officers to protect shipments of cocaine that he imported in speedboats from Colombia to Mexico, to later traffic it to the United States. .UU.

Later, he described three conversations that he says he had with Vicente Carrillo and other members of the Sinaloa Cartel. Martínez assured that he was nervous about transporting cocaine to the US, but that Carrillo and the others told him not to worry because Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, had “everything arranged” with the authorities in Mexico at “all levels”. He even cited a conversation with Carrillo in which he would have told him: “Don’t be scared, bastard. My godfather (El Mayo) has everything arranged.”

This Wednesday, a former Chicago police officer, two Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents and an agent from the United States Customs and Border Protection Office also testified to discuss three large cocaine seizures. 2003: two in New York and one in Chicago. Martínez also referred to those seizures, saying that they were drugs that he had sent to the United States and that they belonged to Chapo and Mayo. He added that after each seizure, the bosses reacted very angrily. And that after the third, he stopped transporting drugs to the US by rail routes, despite the pressure that he —he says— felt from El Chapo, El Mayo and Carrillo to continue.

In cross-examination, García Luna’s defense focused largely on the benefits Martínez has received for cooperating with the US government and testifying in both the Chapo Guzmán trial and this one.

Martínez had indicated that the Prosecutor’s Office presented a letter to the judge after his testimony in the trial against El Chapo recommending a reduction in his sentence. He faced 10 years to life in prison. In 2020, he was sentenced to seven years in jail (84 months), including the four he had already served. He was released from prison on December 3, 2021.

In that letter, the Prosecutor’s Office mentioned Martínez’s cooperation in the case against García Luna and that he is also still in the United States under deferred action while he receives help from the Government to obtain a visa that allows him to reside permanently in the United States.

García Luna faces several counts of participation in an ongoing criminal enterprise and conspiracy to obtain, import and distribute thousands of kilograms of cocaine in the US, in addition to allegedly making false statements to US immigration officials. The former official pleads not guilty to all charges.

During cross-examination, García Luna paid close attention to his lawyer’s questions and to the witness’s responses, turning his head in the direction of his defense counsel, and then back to Martínez when he responded. During the interrogation by the Prosecutor’s Office, he would sometimes look firmly at the witness and take some notes. García Luna’s wife went to the compound again; he greeted her placing his hand on her chest when she entered the room.



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