Genaro García Luna supported “El Chapo” Guzmán, says former Nayarit prosecutor during his testimony
(CNN Spanish) –– In the hearing this Tuesday of the trial facing Genaro García Luna, former Secretary of Public Security of Mexico, in New York, the former prosecutor of the Mexican state of Nayarit Edgar Veytia affirmed that the former official protected Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán during the cartel war .
Veytia, sentenced in the United States to 20 years in prison in 2019 for drug trafficking, said that, in 2008, when he was director of Traffic and Roads in Tepic, the capital of Nayarit, a security official from that state returned from a national security conference. in Mexico City where then-president Felipe Calderón and García Luna were present, saying that he had instructions to side with Chapo in the war that had broken out between the Sinaloa Cartel and Los Beltrán Leyva. The instructions, according to the witness, were that they were not to intervene or make arrests in clashes between the factions.
Veytia said that, at the beginning of 2011, the then state governor told him that he had returned from a very important meeting with Calderón and García Luna where they told him that “the line was El Chapo.” The witness mentioned Calderón twice, but at no time did he say that the instructions had been given by the then president.
Former President Calderón answered to these statements on Twitter: “I have reserved my opinion on the trial of ing. García Luna until it concludes. For now I categorically deny the absurd statements reported by the press made today by the witness Veytia. What you say about me is an absolute lie. I have never negotiated or agreed with criminals.”
In the cross-examination of Veytia, the defense of the former Secretary of Public Security asked him if he had this information from such a high-level official ––basically below the president–– why he did not transmit it to the US attorney’s office. in the many meetings they had. Florian Miedel, one of García Luna’s lawyers, pointed out that in the 11 meetings and more than 150 hours that Veytia met with prosecutors after his arrest, he never mentioned the name of Genaro García Luna, and that he only did so in 2020 after of having learned of the arrest of the former secretary.
The witness replied that the prosecutor’s questions before that happened were very specific and only focused on the period from 2013 to 2017. But when he learned about the arrest of García Luna, his lawyer approached the prosecutors to offer information that could be helpful in this process.
Veytia claimed that the then mayor of Tepic, Roberto Sandoval Castañeda, had ties to the Beltrán Leyva and had reached an agreement with that cartel in exchange for money to finance his campaign for governor.
The former prosecutor said that when Sandoval Castañeda became governor of Nayarit in 2011, he appointed him Deputy State Attorney General and Executive Secretary of Public Security. After taking office, he said, he accompanied Sandoval to a meeting with García Luna in the Mexican capital. There they received the order to support the Sinaloa Cartel, led at that time by Chapo Guzmán.
CNN is trying to contact Sandoval’s lawyers to get their reaction to Veytia’s claims.
Former prosecutor Veytia remains in a high-security prison in Brooklyn and hopes that as part of his collaboration in the trial against García Luna he will receive a reduction in his sentence, although that is not guaranteed to happen.
In the trial that takes place in New York, García Luna faces several charges of participation in an ongoing criminal enterprise and other charges of conspiracy to obtain, import and distribute thousands of kilograms of cocaine in the United States, in addition to allegedly making false statements to officials. Immigration Americans. The former official has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Mariana Coccaro collaborated with the writing of this report