Former Mexico security official denied bail in bribery case

JIM MUSTIAN

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal magistrate judge in Brooklyn denied bail Friday to a former top security official in Mexico accused of taking tens of millions of dollars in bribes to protect the Sinaloa cartel.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Levy said the $1 million bond that Genaro Garcia Luna proposed would not ensure his appearance on charges he conspired to traffic cocaine and made false statements.

Prosecutors opposed Garcia Luna's release, saying he could easily return to Mexico or a country without an extradition treaty with the United States if released from custody.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Robotti said Garcia Luna maintains a “web of former corrupt officials” who would help ensconce him in Mexico.

He said Garcia Luna could spend the rest of his life in a U.S. prison if convicted of shielding Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s drug-trafficking syndicate.

Garcia Luna denies the charges and says he intends to fight them at trial.

Defense attorney Cesar de Castro argued Garcia Luna would be leaving family members and friends in financial ruin if he absconded before trial. “I don't see it happening,” he said of Garcia Luna fleeing.

Levy said the proposed bail did not include enough assets, such as real property, to “cause some kind of pain” to his would-be sureties if Garcia Luna became a fugitive.

“I'm not saying there are no conditions that could ensure his return to court," the judge said, "but this bond doesn't do it.”

Garcia Luna once led Mexico’s Federal Investigation Agency and later served as the country's secretary of public security.