Tag Archives: García Luna

Senior security official arrested on drug trafficking charges

Francisco Javier Gómez Meza, the warden of the federal maximum security prison in Puente Grande, Jalisco was arrested by Mexican Interpol agents at the Mexico City airport and held on drug trafficking charges.  Specifically, he is charged with providing protection to the Beltrán Leyva cartel. Prior to his recent appointment as head of the prison, Gómez Meza was a senior official in the federal police and AFI, and is a close colleague of Secretary of Public Security Genaro García Luna.  In 2006, he was given an award by the U.S. DEA for his work against drug trafficking.  The Puente Grande prison is  best known for the 2001 escape of El Chapo Guzmán, Mexico’s most wanted narcotrafficker. Today, a judge ruled that there was sufficient evidence to continue to hold him. (Universal 10/29, 11/3, Reforma 11/3)

No information on disappearance of Diego Fernández

Even as the military and police carried out searches by air and ground, authorities have not released any information on the disappearance and presumed kidnapping of PAN heavyweight Diego Fernández de Cevallos, 69. Jefe Diego was the party’s candidate for President in 1994, a former Senator and Deputy, and one of its most colorful and controversial characters. He disappeared on his ranch in Queretaro Friday night. The government has acknowledged ‘signs of violence’ in his abandoned Hummer, with some stories alleging bloody footprints or bullet holes in the vehicle.  Government Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont, Attorney General Arturo Chávez, and Public Safety Secretary Genaro García Luna all traveled to the state. Queretaro governor José Calzada Rovirosa (PRI) held his own security cabinet meeting at the headquarters of the 17th military zone. Noted the Bajo Reserva column of El Universal, “The worst crisis of public safety in memory strikes directly at the heart of the party of the President of the Republic…. The country is at the mercy of organized crime despite the campaign promises not only of the PAN and but all the parties in government.” (Universal 5/17)

Governors back abolishing local police in favor of new state forces

The National Governors’ Conference (Conago) backed the Government’s proposal to establish one state-level police force for each state. Most municipal police would be transferred to new state-level forces, after undergoing background checks and additional training. Municipal governments would retain responsibility only for traffic enforcement.  Government Secretary Gómez Mont worked with the governors to reach the agreement, which was originally proposed by Public Security Secretary Genaro García Luna. Establishing the new state-level forces requires amendment of the federal Constitution. (Reforma 3/24)

García Luna defends war against cartels in Congress

Security Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna defended the government’s security program and answered questions for 5-1/2 hours in Congress. He highly praised the role of the Army in fighting the traffickers, but also said that only 7% of reported crimes in Mexico were under federal jurisdiction, and of those, only half were drug-related. The overall 2009 crime rate was 1,657 per 100,000 persons, up 1.2% from 2008 and 10% from 1999. He called on Congress to approve the merger of municipal police forces into 31 state-level forces to improve the effectiveness of the policee. (Universal 1/22, Reforma 1/22)

Mexican Police Forces
Ministry of Public Security (SSP) 32,357
Justice Ministry (PGR) 4,298
State preventive police 198,897
State ministerial police 26,495
Municipal police 160,967

New strategy to curb violence in Juárez

After a meeting of the security cabinet in Ciudad Juárez (including the participation of U.S. Ambassador Carlos Pascual), Security Secretary Genaro García Luna announced that a force of 2,000 Federal Police (PF) would join the approximately 7,800 military and federal police already in the state of Chihuahua, in what was characterized as a change of strategy. The PF will gradually replace the army in Juárez from now through March; the troops will redeploy to rural areas of the state. The army will also make use of drones to combat crime in the city, technology made possible as part of the Mérida Initiative. According to José Antonio Ortega, the head of a civic organization in Juárez, the city’s 2009 homicide rate of 191 per 100,000 residents ranked it as the most violent city in the world. Garcia Luna disputed the ranking, but acknowledged that Juárez was the most dangerous city in Mexico. (Reforma 1/11, Excelsior 1/14)

García Luna lives large

Reporte Indigo disclosed that Public Security Secretary Genaro García Luna is building a Ps. 20 million, 4-story home in an exclusive section of Mexico City that seems far beyond his means (as disclosed in his mandatory financial disclosures). The news stories prompted a furious media counterattack by Garcia Luna and threats to sue the reporter. Columnist Miguel Angel Granados Chapa finds García Luna’s attempts to explain his finances “confused” and “unclear.” (Indigo 3/27 and 4/3, Reforma 4/8)

‘Affaire Cassez’ overshadows Sarkozy visit to Mexico

In a speech to the Mexican Senate, French President Nicolas Sarkozy appealed for the repatriation of Florence Cassez, a French citizen who is serving a 60-year sentence for being part of a kidnap gang, despite requests from the Mexican Foreign Ministry and the congressional leadership not to do so. Cassez was arrested in 2005 in a much criticized bust by the AFI (then headed by SSP Secretary Genaro García Luna) that was staged for the benefit of Televisa’s camera crews. Mexico is a signatory to the Strasbourg Convention with the EU, which allows for foreign prisoners to be repatriated to their home countries to serve out their sentences. Presidents Calderón and Sarkozy agreed to form a binational commission to examine the legal issues involved. Speaking in Paris, author Carlos Fuentes noted, “There is a very strong nationalist reaction in Mexico over this case. But the reaction also has to do with … the system of injustice that rules in Mexico. All this noise is not just directed at the presence of a French criminal, but at the reality that so many Mexican criminals evade justice and make a joke of the laws.” (Reforma 3/11, Universal 3/13)