A top Mexican law enforcement official was charged in Brooklyn federal court Friday with taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to leak US investigation information to El Chapo’s Sinaloa Cartel.
Ivan Reyes Arzate, of the Mexican Federal Police’s Sensitive Investigation Unit, is the second Mexican official in recent weeks to face an American judge on charges of taking bribes to help drug cartels to ply their trade.
Last month, federal agents collared Genaro Garcia Luna, who served as Mexico’s secretary of public security from 2006 to 2012, on similar charges.
Reyes Arzate — also known as “La Reina,” or “The Queen” — pleaded not guilty in Brooklyn Federal Court on Friday to charges of conspiracy to import and distribute cocaine and is being detained without bail. He is due back in court on Feb. 19.
From 2003 to 2016, Reyes Arzate headed up the Mexican Federal Police’s Sensitive Investigation Unit, which works closely with US law enforcement to fight drug traffickers — giving him access to sensitive intel about investigations by the Americans that he could leak to the cartels for a price.
“The defendant carried out these crimes in close coordination with other corrupt public officials in the Mexican government,” prosecutors from the US Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn allege.
In one instance in 2016, prosecutors allege, Reyes Arzate met personally with leaders of El Seguimiento 39, a drug trafficking ring with ties to the Sinaloa Cartel, and tipped them off on a pending US Drug Enforcement Administration investigation.
For spilling the details, the drug traffickers rewarded Reyes Arzate with a $290,000 payment.
Additionally, cooperating witnesses allegedly told the feds that they personally paid bribes to the purportedly corrupt cop.
Reyes Arzate is already serving a federal sentence for taking part in corrupt activities on behalf of Mexican cartels — in 2018, he pleaded “no contest” in Chicago federal court to a conspiracy charge and was sentenced to 40 months in prison.
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