Marisol Garcia Mexican Police Chief Takes On Drug Cartels (#GotBitcoin?)
Marisol Valles Garcia — the baby-faced former police chief of a violent, drug-riddled Mexican border town — will celebrate the opening of a biographical play about her life when it opens this weekend in the East Village. Marisol Garcia Mexican Police Chief Takes On Drug Cartels (#GotBitcoin?)
The “bravest woman in Mexico” is coming to the mean streets of New York.
And the NYPD is ready to protect the 23-year-old, who made headlines worldwide in 2010 when she agreed to become the police chief of tiny Praxedis, Mexico, after no man in her town had the guts to step up.
“If she needs some sort of protection, we’ll provide it,” said NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly about Valles, who remains a target of murderous Mexican drug cartels.
Valles’ daring one-woman battle against corruption and violence is the centerpiece of the play, “So Go the Ghosts of Mexico ,” by Matthew Paul Olmos, that premieres Thursday at La MaMa at 74 E. Fourth St.
Valles will attend a Sunday matinee of the play, which was inspired by her global impact, Olmos said.
“The significance of her ideas — that we could solve these conflicts by community improvements instead of armed conflict — are still being felt,” said the California playwright.
The soft-spoken young mother, who was a criminal justice student, took the top cop job after out-of-control cartels had beheaded the last police chief of Praxedis — a common occurrence in the drug-torn country.
“I want my son to live in a different community to the one we have today. I want people to be able to go out without fear, as it was before,” Valles told reporters after pinning on her badge.
She stood up to the cartels with the barest of resources — one patrol car, four guns and 13 officers, nine of whom were women.
Valles opted not to carry a weapon and didn’t even have a security detail. She earned $640 a month for putting her life on the line.
She was forced to flee Praxedis mere months after becoming police chief — taking her toddler son and husband with her — because of harassment from the drug lords.
After one particularly threatening phone call from the Chapo Guzman cartel — demanding Valles drive to Ciudad Juarez to meet with the narcos or her husband and son would suffer — she and her family jumped into a friend’s pickup truck and made the 15-minute journey across the border into America with only the clothes on their backs.
She’s now living in El Paso, Texas, and seeking asylum, according to her lawyer, Carlos Spector.
Mexico Ex-Security Chief Arrested by U.S. on Drugs-Linked Bribery Charge
The Sinaloa drug cartel allegedly paid Genaro García Luna, the face of Mexico’s anti-drug efforts, millions of dollars in bribes in exchange for protection.
Federal agents arrested a former head of Mexico’s federal police and charged him with receiving millions of dollars in bribes from the Sinaloa Cartel while he was the top security official from 2006 to 2012, U.S. officials said Tuesday.
Genaro García Luna was arrested in Dallas on Monday and charged with three counts of cocaine trafficking conspiracy and one count of making false statements, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.
On at least two occasions, the cartel personally delivered bribe payments to Mr. Garcia Luna in briefcases containing between $3 million and $5 million dollars, U.S. officials said. In exchange, the cartel got safe passage for its drugs, sensitive law-enforcement information about investigations into the group and information about rival gangs, they said. The cartel was run by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, who is now in a U.S. prison.
The bribes occurred while Mr. García Luna “controlled Mexico’s Federal Police Force and was responsible for ensuring public safety in Mexico,” said U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue.
Mr. Garcia Luna was the public face of Mexico’s antidrug efforts from 2006 to 2012 and was tasked by then-President Felipe Calderón to build an honest and capable federal police force modeled after the Federal Bureau of Investigations to take on the country’s powerful drug mafias, including the Sinaloa Cartel.
During Mr. Guzmán’s recent trial in New York, one witness described payments to Mr. García Luna. It was unclear whether this week’s arrest was linked to testimony from that trial. In the past, Mr. Guzmán has denied allegations of wrongdoing.
The arrest is a boost to Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has long argued that his predecessor’s administrations were hopelessly corrupt.
The arrest is also a serious stain on the legacy of Mr. Calderón, who staked his presidency on challenging the country’s drug cartels by deploying the army to capture and kill cartel leaders. The strategy failed to contain the violence, which rose as drug gangs fractured into smaller groups that fought over succession and territory. Tens of thousands died during Mr. Calderon’s term.
“It’s a terrible blow for Calderón, even if his strategy was already discredited,” said Eduardo Guerrero, a security analyst and former intelligence official.
Mr. Calderon’s administration was criticized at the time for not targeting the Sinaloa Cartel and focusing its arrests and drug seizures on other groups, especially the rival Zetas cartel.
Mr. Calderón, who isn’t accused of wrongdoing, said on Twitter he would await further details but “am always in favor of justice and the law.”
“It seems clear now that (Garcia Luna) let the Sinaloa Cartel be and went after other groups. There were rumors at the time about this,” said Alejandro Schtulmann, head of political risk consulting firm Empra in Mexico City.
The scandal is the biggest drug-related corruption scandal in Mexico since the 1997 arrest of the country’s antidrug czar, Gen. Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo, who was found guilty of taking bribes from a cartel and sentenced to 40 years in jail. He died in 2013 in prison.
Mr. García Luna got his start in Mexico’s domestic spy agency in the 1990s and was sent for training with the FBI and police agencies in Spain and elsewhere. He rose quickly after leading a covert squad that captured a notorious Mexican kidnapper known for lopping off the ears of his kidnap victims.
In 2006, Mr. Calderón named him to the cabinet level post of Public Security Secretary and charged him with building an honest federal police force.
But a rash of scandals made Mr. García Luna a controversial pick. He admitted to staging a kidnap rescue for the benefit of the cameras. His top antidrug commander was arrested and charged with helping a cartel. Another officer on his anti-kidnap squad was arrested for allegedly organizing phony police checkpoints to abduct victims.
At the time, Mr. García said he was honest and that the arrests of his aides proved that corruption would no longer be tolerated. He told The Wall Street Journal in a 2009 story on his efforts to build an honest police force: “We’re going to do this, you’ll see. Remember me.” Marisol Garcia Mexican Police,Marisol Garcia Mexican Police
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