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Mexico purges security agencies of those tied to ex-chief

MEXICO CITY – Top directors in Mexico´s National Guard and elsewhere in the state security apparatus have been purged due to their ties with a former security secretary now held on drug trafficking charges in the United States.

Current Security Secretary Alfonso Durazo said Tuesday that two general directors from the National Guard, as well as officials from the penitentiary system and the National Intelligence Center had been relieved of their duties. In total some 18 officials had been removed in recent months because of their ties to Genaro García Luna, he said.

“They are positions of trust, consequently they can be removed from responsibility precisely due to the loss of trust,” Durazo said.

U.S. prosecutors allege García Luna took tens of millions of dollars in bribes to protect Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman´s Sinaloa cartel. García Luna, who is awaiting trial in New York, has denied the allegations.

García Luna led Mexico´s Federal Investigation Agency from 2001 to 2005, and from 2006 to 2012 served as Mexico´s secretary of public security before relocating to the U.S. He was arrested in December in Texas.

“There aren´t criminal cases (against those relieved) because they aren´t being fired because they´ve found some irregularity in their performance,” Durazo said. “But we can´t be naive on this topic and we know that the network of complicity is woven when the professional careers grow in parallel, in this case to García Luna.”

“They were in the atmosphere of direct subordination to García Luna, direct or immediate,” Durazo said.

Last week, U.S. prosecutors announced charges against two other former high-ranking Mexican security officials also accused of accepting millions in bribes from the Sinaloa cartel.

Former Federal Police commanders Luis Cardenas Palomino and Ramon Pequeno Garcia had not been arrested.

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