(CNN Spanish) — In the third week of the trial against Genaro García Luna, former Secretary of Public Security of Mexico, Jesús “El Rey” Zambada admitted on Tuesday that “possibly some things have changed” in his story, but that “it is difficult to remember the details of something that it happened so long ago and that sometimes the person who took notes on his testimony would write differently.”
In the cross-examination of the defense, which ended on Tuesday, the witness also said that he felt pressure and fear to talk about García Luna. “It is very difficult to talk about such an important and powerful person,” said El Rey Zambada.
As he has done before during the trial, César de Castro, García Luna’s defense attorney, focused on questioning the credibility of the witness. Among other things, he said that El Rey Zambada, over the years, has recounted different versions of the payments allegedly made to the former official at a Mexico City restaurant, about which he testified on Monday.
The cross-examination of Zambada
García Luna’s defense lawyer remarked to Zambada that, in meetings with the Prosecutor’s Office between 2014 and 2017, he said that they gave the former official two briefcases of money, as he testified this Monday, although on other occasions he said it was just a briefcase.
This Monday, Zambada also testified that he paid García Luna at least US$5 million in exchange for protection for his brother Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, one of the leaders of the Sinaloa Cartel. However, De Castro remarked that, in previous meetings with the Prosecutor’s Office, the witness said that the amount ranged between US$1 million and US$5 million.
According to De Castro, in those meetings with the Prosecutor’s Office, King Zambada also said that he himself gave the money to García Luna and did not mention the lawyer who worked for the cartel who, according to his testimony on Monday, was the one who would have arranged meetings and delivery. He also did not mention the two supposed companions of García Luna and said that it was the former Secretary of Public Security of Mexico himself who took the briefcases from the restaurant.
At the end, De Castro asked him: “Don’t you have any corroboration about what you said regarding the fact that you paid money to García Luna?”, to which Zambada replied no. At the end, De Castro asked him: “You only have your word, right?”, to which the witness said: “That’s right.”
García Luna faces in this trial several counts of participation in an ongoing criminal enterprise and other charges of conspiracy to obtain, import and distribute thousands of kilograms of cocaine in the United States, in addition to allegedly making false statements to US immigration officials. The former official has pleaded not guilty to all charges.