García Luna’s wife speaks from an empty court bench in New York

In Judge Brian Cogan’s room, on the eighth floor, the same one where “El Chapo” Guzmán was found guilty by a jury and sentenced, Mrs. Pereyra sits on the same bench where Emma Coronel, wife of the former leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, but his attitude is more discreet.

By Jesus Garcia

NEW YORK.- On the morning of January 3, 2020, Linda Cristina Pereyra I was walking in a hurry out of the Eastern District Court of New York next to his children Luna and Genaro. It was a freezing morning. They had left the court where her husband Genaro Garcia LunaMexico’s former Secretary of Public Security, pleaded “not guilty” to charges about drug trafficking. She and her daughter lowered their faces to the press, they looked devastated. The son kept his face up.

That winter, this journalist insisted on asking Pereyra what she thought of the accusations against her husband about ties to the Sinaloa Cartel, particularly with Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, if he would stay in New York or return to the city where he lives – which has been unknown since then – if he believed that the accusations were unfair. “We will not comment on anything at the moment,” she said then.

Three years later, Pereyra looks different, not exactly happy, but smiling; she allows the press to get close, although she gets annoyed when she perceives certain harassment, despite the fact that journalist colleagues are only trying to do her job, take a video or a photograph of her, perhaps obtain a statement. It is almost impossible to achieve. Choosing the hours when there are fewer reporters, she rushes into the courthouse in Brooklyn and goes to the cafeteria on the third floor, where it is difficult to be approached, more out of respect for her privacy.

García Luna, during his time as Secretary of Public Security of Mexico. Photo: Alexandre Meneghini, AP/File

In Judge Brian Cogan’s room, on the eighth floor, the same one where “El Chapo” Guzmán was found guilty by a jury and sentenced by that Judge, Mrs. Pereyra sits on the same bench where Emma Coronel, wife of of the former leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, but his attitude is more discreet. Pereyra prefers the corner of the bench near the aisle, Coronel chose the corner next to the wall in that second row. The journalists sit in the third. Pereyra smiles at some of them, who make jokes among themselves. It is impossible not to laugh at jokes or absurd comments.

Before the start of the hearing, García Luna’s wife exchanged comments with her husband’s lawyers. One day she brought him some glasses in a case that she gave to César de Castro, who leads the defense. García Luna received them and made a gesture of gratitude to her partner, whom she greets every day with a kiss sent with his right hand and a palm on his heart, sometimes he crosses both arms as a sign of a hug. She smiles at the gestures and nods. She knows she is being observed and that, perhaps, inhibits her from being more expressive.

In one of the first days of the presentation of witnesses and other evidence, Mrs. Pereyra was with her daughter Luna, who looked more relaxed than on January 3, 2020. This journalist asked them if they would request the devices to listen to the translator. They both smiled. “Yes,” said Mrs. Pereyra. The daughter herself replied that she did not, as a sign that she understands English well. After lunch, Luna didn’t come back to the living room. Where is her daughter? I asked Mrs. Pereyra. “She had to go,” she replied kindly. Will she come back? I added. “I don’t think so, she has to work,” she said.

Mrs. Pereyra has heard in court, from the voices of drug traffickers, that her husband had business with Arturo Beltrán Leyva; that by protecting some cartels he provoked a brutal war between them that impacted civil society; that he betrayed Beltrán Leyva to support “El Chapo”; that he was kidnapped, subdued; that Arturo Beltrán Leyva wanted to kill him and “send his head”; that he received millions of dollars in suitcases, in boxes; that his drug associates made fun of how he spoke and called him “Metralleta” or “El Statamudo”; that he had an allegedly criminal group that operated from the Government of Vicente Fox; that he liked espionage strategies; that his other boss, Felipe Calderón, perhaps approved the agreements with drug traffickers. Did she know something or at least she sensed it? It is an unanswered question yet.

Garcia Luna’s wife has also heard, mainly from the defense, that her husband was famous, had an important position, and met with the likes of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, something prosecutors don’t like to see exposed, although be true. She listened when the former United States ambassador to Mexico, Earl Anthony Wayne, acknowledged that he met García Luna constantly and had gone to his house at least once, where he saw a fish tank that impressed him because of its size. of the. “It was my job,” the ambassador said about the meetings, trying to justify that García Luna had so many photos with high-level figures in US politics.


García Luna’s wife does not accept proper interviews, she answers some questions to certain reporters, who try to find the right moment, if there is such a short time between entering the courtroom, the breaks to report progress on the process and lunch, when an unsaid label avoids approaching Pereyra, who eats her food next to her husband’s lawyers, in the cafeteria on the third floor, where some of the journalists sit down to write while we also eat.

It’s already been 13 days in court. Mrs. Pereyra has been alone practically all the time. Why does this bench look empty? I ask on one occasion when I squatted down to achieve some privacy and not make her get up. She looked at me surprised, not upset; she raised her shoulders slightly, as a gesture of not knowing why that bench was empty. Although Mrs. Pereyra looks relaxed, her eyes reflect fatigue and a certain sadness.

It is not certain that García Luna will testify, but although there are certain rules imposed by Judge Cogan, by getting on the bench he will open the door for prosecutors to question him incisively, even for hours. Has her husband decided to testify yet? I ask him. “We don’t know, because this thing about the prosecutors has surprised us,” Pereyra said, after federal prosecutors said they would finish calling witnesses and present evidence next Monday, the same day an “important witness” will be heard could give the legal thrust to her husband.

There is a saying that goes: friends know each other through hard times, I told Pereyra. Where are your friends? I launched then. “I don’t know, that’s what I wonder,” she replies. “Maybe because now he doesn’t have a job to offer them,” she adds. During a few hours on certain days, people are seen sitting on that bench, some DEA agent or a witness accompanying them.

I have reports that in Mexico many defend García Luna, but in court only his wife supports him morally. He says another saying that words are carried away by the wind. In fact, Mrs. Pereyra is alone, every day, on that bench.


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