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Why “El Grande” was arrested without resisting and what was his plan

Sergio Villarreal was extradited to the US after his capture in Mexico by the Navy (Photo: File)
Sergio Villarreal was extradited to the US after his capture in Mexico by the Navy (Photo: File)

The first witness to testify against the former Secretary of Public Security of Mexico, Genaro García Luna, was the Mexican drug trafficker Sergio Villarreal Barragán, aka “El Grande”who assured that he saw “on several occasions“to the former official”to pay him bribes from the Sinaloa Cartel”.

There are two types of corruption, the one that turns to one side and lets it pass, and another, that of the officials who are part of the activities of the organization”, said “El Grande”, before clarifying, at the request of the prosecutor, that García Luna was of the second type.

According to Villarreal Barragan, the cartel’s envoys met García Luna every month in the parking lot of the Persiur shopping plazalocated south of Mexico City, where they delivered suitcases full of dollars.

“El Grande” specified that the person in charge of payments to García Luna was Arturo Beltran Leyvaa friend of his and one of the leaders of the Leyva clan (part of the Sinaloa Cartel), adding that he “was on some occasions” present in said transactions, which, according to his statement, increased as the cartel grew.

The drug trafficker explained that when he began working for the Leyva clan in 2001, García Luna was already on the cartel's payroll (REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg)
The drug trafficker explained that when he began working for the Leyva clan in 2001, García Luna was already on the cartel’s payroll (REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg)

Sergio Villarreal was apprehended by members of the Navy in a luxury subdivision located in Puebla. He was already waiting for them in the dining room of his house. He turned himself in without resisting, despite the fact that he was accompanied by two hit men, for his wife and children were in a room in the house.

The 1.98-meter-tall drug trafficker, hence his nickname, confessed to having unleashed a “cleaning” in Morelos under the orders of Arturo Beltrán Leyva that involved the death and torture of at least 90 people, many of whom he murdered with their own hands, between them Mario Pinedaalias “El Borrado”, brother of María de los Ángeles Pineda Villa, wife of the mayor of Iguala Jose Luis Abarca, implicated in the disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa.

However, since before his arrest he had already foreseen at least two scenarios: first, obtain “possible benefits” through the resource of becoming a protected witness of the Mexican government and collaborator of the United States; second, offer sensitive information to the authorities about the operations of the Sinaloa Cartel and its links with authorities.

“El Grande” was arrested during the six-year term of Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, and before the SIEDO he received a code name as a protected witness: “Mateo”, and later gave a long statement that in those days was the cause of repeated scandals.

One of those accusations involved the magazine reporter Process, Ricardo RaveloWell, “El Grande” stated that he gave him about 50,000 dollars to stop publishing information related to the capo.

“El Grande” also implicated senators, deputies, governors and high command of the army in his statements. For that reason three generals were apprehended, although the three were exonerated some time later.

"The big one" specified that the person in charge of payments to García Luna was Arturo Beltrán Leyva (Cuartoscuro)
“El Grande” specified that the person in charge of payments to García Luna was Arturo Beltrán Leyva (Cuartoscuro)

In May 2012, still under Calderón’s six-year term, Villarreal was extradited to the United States. Former federal judicial police stationed in TorreónThrough the purchase of authorities first from Coahuila and then from Durango and Chihuahua, “El Grande” formed a very violent army dedicated to drug trafficking and established his stronghold in the Laguna region, where he enjoyed absolute protection and had police officers from Lerdo, Torreon and Gomez Palacio.

He soon entered into dealings with Arturo Hernandez, “El Chacky” (chief assassin of the Juárez Cartel and later of the Beltrán). When “El Chacky” was apprehended, Villarreal took his territory and stole his property.

One version says that the two heads that appeared in 2006 in the vicinity of the Mexico City airport were cut off precisely by “El Grande”, who thus charged the loss of half a ton of cocaine to two employees of an air cargo storage company.

At the time of his arrest, he had become an enemy of Arturo Beltrán Leyva’s main lieutenant: Édgar Valdez Villarreal, aka “La Barbie.” “El Grande” had received the order to assassinate him, since he was not only accused of having betrayed Beltrán, but even to be forming his own organization.

According to “El Grande”, one of Beltrán’s brothers, Héctor Beltrán, known as “El H”, hired elite federal police officers and paid them $500,000 to get rid of “La Barbie”. The group would have been in charge, according to El Grande, of a commander of the Federal Police, Iván Reyes Arzate (today detained and extradited to the United States), who was under the direct orders of Felipe Calderón’s security secretary, Genaro Garcia Luna.

The murder, however, did not materialize.. “La Barbie” was also arrested and extradited during Calderón’s six-year term. He was sentenced to 49 years.

KEEP READING:

Who are the other former key officials in the trial against Genaro García Luna
The day the drug traffickers made their letter of introduction to CDMX with two heads of AICM employees
AMLO considered that reliable evidence has not yet been presented in the García Luna trial: “A judicial drama”

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