Arrest warrant issued against former Mexican security official Luis Cárdenas Palomino

Mexico’s government is investigating the former chief of Regional Security of the Federal Police and other four public officials close to García Luna over alleged links to organized crime

Arrest warrant issued against former Mexican security official Luis Cárdenas Palomino
Luis Cárdenas Palomino was in front of the Regional Security Division and was considered García Luna’s operative arm - Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 25/09/2020 13:40 Diana Lastiri Mexico City Actualizada 13:40

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A federal judge ordered to arrest Luis Cárdenas Palomino, former director of Regional Security of the Federal Police (PF) for torturing Mario Vallarta Cisneros, an alleged member of Los Zodiaco, a band of kidnappers.

The 12th District Judge for Federal Criminal Procedures in Mexico City ordered the arrest of Cárdenas Palomino and another 12 former PF officials for hitting and torturing four alleged members of Los Zodiaco arrested on April 27, 2012.

Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (FGR) accused Cárdenas Palomino, a former collaborator of Genaro García Luna, of being the instigator and perpetrator of the crime by ordering the arrest and torture of Sergio Cortés Vallarta and his uncle Mario Vallarta Cisneros, who is the brother of Israel Vallarta, the ex-boyfriend of French Florence Cassez, to force them to confess being part of the kidnapping band.

Sources close to the case confirmed that the FGR also said Eduardo and Ricardo Estrada are victims of this crime for they were arrested and hit inside their home on April 27, 2012.

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In its request, the FGR described that the victims were hit, threatened, and tortured with bags and electric shocks.

The judge said the analyzed evidence, which includes the testimonies of the victims, shows sufficient information to hold Luis Cárdenas Palomino accountable.

“Said person, in his nature of hierarchical superior to the subofficers of the Federal Police, who partook in the arrest, gave authorization to hit [the arrested] with hands, weapons, and plastic bags covering their heads, and in some cases with electric shocks along with threats,” said the judge.

Luis Cárdenas Palomino
Luis Cárdenas Palomino and Ramón Pequeño García, two former high-ranking Mexican law enforcement officials, have been accused in NY of taking millions of dollars in bribes to protect Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán’s notorious Sinaloa cartel.

Luis Cárdenas Palomino and Ramón Pequeño García allegedly worked for Genaro García Luna, Mexico’s former top security official, who is also facing drug trafficking charges. According to prosecutors, the three men “permitted the Sinaloa Cartel to operate with impunity in Mexico.”

García Luna is pending trial in New York on charges he conspired to traffic cocaine and made false statements. A superseding indictment charged him with continuing criminal enterprise. Cárdenas Palomino and Pequeño García have not been arrested, prosecutors said.

“Through today’s superseding indictment, García Luna and his co-conspirators will face justice for offenses involving the importation and the distribution of massive quantities of dangerous drugs into the United States,” said Seth D. DuCharme, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Luis Cárdenas Palomino was in front of the Regional Security Division and was considered García Luna’s operative arm.

He was pointed out by Edgar Valdez Villareal, “La Barbie,” of receiving bribes from the Beltrán Leyva brothers.

In 2012, Cárdenas Palomino announced his leave from the Federal Police to join the private sector. “The main motives to begin this new stage are the satisfaction of fulfilling my duty and my wish to give back with time the support of my family at all times and circumstances that stemmed from my work,” he wrote in his Facebook account.

“As every public officer, I’ve been exposed to criticism, many of which are sterile and lack arguments, which in addition to suggesting criminal behaviors from me, have the objective of discrediting the police function,” he said.

If Cárdenas Palomino is found guilty, he will face from 10 years to life in prison over conspiracy for cocaine trafficking.

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Since April 2020, the UIF filed a complaint against Cárdenas Palomino at the FGR and ordered to freeze his accounts since it detected a shell company with which he laundered funds whose origin is allegedly illicit.

Cárdenas Palomino has sought to unfreeze his bank accounts in Mexico but the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented him from doing so.

According to the court, the Fifth Collegiate Court in Administrative Matters has suspended the procedure of a legal recourse presented by Cárdenas Palomino in which he seeks to undo a federal judge’s decision that prevented him from unfreezing his bank accounts.

This is because the recourse was admitted on March 12, 2020, but the Federal Judicial Council (CJF) suspended its in-person labors and judicial resolutions due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is currently exclusively attending urgent matters.

The suspension denial disputed by Cárdenas Palomino was issued by the Fifteenth District Judge in Administrative Matters in the writ of amparo he presented in December 2019 after the UIF, led by Santiago Nieto, ordered to freeze his bank accounts.

Mexico’s government is investigating the former chief of Regional Security of the Federal Police and other four public officers close to García Luna over alleged links to organized crime.

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