(by cmolzahn) 11/28/12 – Édgar Valdez Villarreal, commonly known as “La Barbie,” has accused Mexican Public Security Secretary Genaro García Luna of accepting bribes from criminal groups, and President Felipe Calderón of making pacts with leaders of drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) during his presidency. In a letter submitted to Reforma, by Valdez Villarreal’s attorney, La Barbie says that García Luna has accepted money from DTOs since 2002, when he was head of the Federal Agency of Investigations (Agencia Federal de Investigaciones, AFI) under the Vicente Fox administration, as have those working most closely to him.
The news comes at a difficult time for the Public Security Ministry (Secretaría de Seguridad Pública, SSP), which is on the chopping block after President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto presented an initiative to the Mexican Congress that the agency be dissolved, which has already passed the Chamber of Deputies and is being discussed in Senate committees. It also follows a PGR report that officers of the Federal Police (which falls under the command of the SSP) intentionally fired on a car in August carrying members of the CIA and a Mexican Navy officer traveling on a federal highway near Tres Marías, Morelos.
In the letter, Valdez Villarreal said he was “certain” that García Luna had received money from him, as well as from drug trafficking organizations. He added that a “select group” also did so, and was made up of men close to García Luna in the SSP. This group includes Armando Espinosa de Benito, currently chief of the investigations unit in the Federal Police, who Valdez said worked with the DEA and passed him information; as well as Luis Cárdenas Palomino, currently chief of the Regional Security Division of the SSP. It is 14 agents from that division that are accused of carrying out the Tres Marías attack, and four officers from the same division implicated in attempting to cover up the agents’ involvement. Valdez also named Édgar Eusebio Millán Gómez, former commissioner of the Federal Preventive Police (Policía Federal Preventiva, PFP), who was shot and killed outside of his home in Mexico City in 2008; as well as Igor Labastida Calderón, a PFP commander and close collaborator with Millán Gómez, who was shot and killed in a restaurant shortly after the death of the commissioner. Facundo Rosas Rosas, who just this year in February was tapped to head the SSP’s assistant secretary of Prevention, Outreach and Human Rights (Prevención, Vinculación y Derechos Humanos) was also named in the letter, as was Ramón Eduardo Pequeño García, chief of the Federal Police antinarcotics division. Valdez also mentions Víctor Gerardo Garay Cadena, former Federal Police chief who in 2011 was fined the equivalent of 180 days’ worth of minimum wage for overseeing an operation that robbed the home of a group of Colombians tied to the Beltrán Leyva organization. Finally, the letter mentions Francisco Javier Garza Palacios, attaché of the Colombian Federal Police, who in 2008 was investigated by the Mexican Attorney General’s Office (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR) for suspected ties to the Sinaloa cartel. All of these high-ranking officials, said Valdez, directly accepted payments from him.
Valdez, who was captured in August 2010 after rising to the top of the ranks of a splinter organization of the Beltrán Leyva organization after their leader, Arturo Beltrán Leyva, was killed in an operation by the Mexican Navy in Cuernavaca, Morelos in December 2009, added that his arrest was a result of a “political persecution on the part of C. Felipe Calderón Hinojosa,” who he said targeted him as a result of his refusal to join in talks between the president and leaders of DTOs. He also claimed that General Mario Arturo Acosta Chaparro, who was murdered in April of this year, acted as a liaison between the Calderón administration and drug kingpins, acting at the behest of Calderón himself, as well as former Secretary of the Interior, Juan Camilo Mouriño.
La Barbie also claims that officers of the Federal Police, who he also accused of stealing money, jewelry, automobiles, watches and drugs during their operations, had orders to kill him in the August 2010 operation that resulted in his arrest. He cites one agent who, while transporting him to the federal prison where he currently resides, challenged him to run so that he could shoot him, claiming that he had resisted arrest. He referenced the case of Aarón Arturo Gines Becerril, a presumed criminal shot by the Federal Police in a Mexico City shopping center, pointing out that all of his bullet wounds were in the back.
Valdez’s attorney, Eréndira Joselyn Guerra Guitiérrez, explained that Valdez understands that he could be extradited to the United States at any moment, and simply wanted to reveal what he knows about corruption in the SSP beforehand. She added that Valdez plans to report everything he knows about the corruption ring to U.S. authorities when his extradition does happen.
The Federal Police promptly responded to Valdez’s accusations, saying that the letter was nothing more than an attempt to discredit the agency that captured him. Federal Police spokesman José Ramón Salinas said that Valdez seeks to hinder the agency’s anti-cartel efforts by deceiving the public, adding that he has repeatedly attempted to blackmail authorities in the past, and has attempted to gain favors by means such as hunger strikes, one of which he ended just this month.