Who is 'The Great'? The narco who revealed bribes to García Luna

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Among the witnesses in the trial against Genaro Garcia Lunaformer Secretary of Public Security between 2006 and 2012, is Sergio Villarreal Barraganbetter known as ‘The big one’ and that he was one of the main operators of the Beltran Leyva cartel; It was he who revealed the bribes of up to 16 million pesos that were given to the former federal official.

In the East Court of New York, located in Brooklyn, Sergio Villarreal Barragán became the first witness in the trial against García Luna, who is accused of five counts by the United States: three related to the drug traffickingone for his alleged relationship with criminal organizations and another for false statements.

Who is Sergio Villarreal Barragán, alias ‘El Grande’?

‘The Great’ was one of the most important lieutenants of the Beltrán Leyva Cartel and he owes his nickname to the fact that he is over two meters tall, apart from weighing 115 kilos. The arrest of this drug trafficker occurred on September 12, 2010, thanks to an operation carried out in the Puerta de Hierro subdivision, in the city of Puebla.

The illegal activities of ‘El Grande’ began in Torreón, Coahuila, where he was a car thief, until he was part of the Beltrán Leyva Cartel, where he came to be considered a the ‘right hand’ of Héctor Beltrán Leyva; He even came to have under his power the operations of the entire so-called Comarca Lagunera, an area that includes Coahuila and Durango.

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The trial against García Luna has already started in a Brooklyn court (EFE)

Within the Beltrán Leyva Cartel, Villarreal Barragán maintained a fight with Édgar Valdez Villarreal, alias ‘La Barbie’who was captured on August 30, 2010 by federal agents, due to his relationship with Jorge Balderas Garza, alias ‘El JJ’, material author of the attack against former soccer player Salvador Cabañas, perpetrated at the ‘Bar Bar’ on January 25 of that year.

Alejandro Poiré, who was spokesman for National Security during the six-year term of Felipe Calderón, declared that “El Grande” had a hierarchy similar to that of “La Barbie” and revealed that there were a reward of 2.3 million dollars (around 27.6 million pesos, according to the 2010 exchange rate).

‘El Grande’ after being arrested by Semar agents in September 2010 (Cuartoscuro)

In 2012, ‘El Grande’ was extradited to the United Statesdue to charges of criminal association, money laundering and drug trafficking. In December 2019, the authorities of the “neighboring country to the north” released Villarreal Barragán, under the condition of acting as a protected witness.

What did ‘El Grande’ say about García Luna?

During his testimony, Sergio Villarreal Barragán revealed that he even participated in 20 meetings with members of organized crime, García Luna and agents of the extinct Federal Investigation Agency (AFI), same ones that took place in the south of Mexico City and in the vicinity of the Perisur shopping center.

In these meetings with García Luna, ‘El Grande’ and members of the Beltrán Leyva Cartel delivered paper boxes with between 1 and 1.5 million dollars, all as part of a series of bribes; On one occasion, they delivered 16 million pesos in exchange for a shipment of two tons of cocaine that had been seized by the AFI from the Sinaloa Cartel.

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