Key Witness Jesus Reynaldo El Rey Zambada to Testify in Genaro Garcia Luna Trial

Learn about the crucial role of Jesus Reynaldo El Rey Zambada in the ongoing trial against former Mexican Public Security Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna. Follow the latest developments as Zambada takes a stand and sheds light on corruption allegations.

Key Witness Jesus Reynaldo El Rey Zambada to Testify in Genaro Garcia Luna Trial
Jesús Reynaldo Zambada García is his full name, and he was born on August 13, 1961, in Culiacán, Sinaloa. He was arrested in October 2018. Credit: PGR

Jesus Reynaldo El Rey Zambada, the younger brother of Ismael El Mayo Zambada, will be the key witness in the fourth week of the trial against former Public Security Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna. Prosecutors will begin their case by calling El Rey a witness.

El Rey will be sent to prison in March 2020, according to a letter from Garcia Luna's defense team. While prosecutors work out how to get him there, the defense has asked the U.S. government to send them information about the witness so they can prepare for cross-examination.

The defense lawyers for the former Secretary of Public Security have reproached the government for only giving them two pages of material related to two of the 18 meetings they've had with the witness, despite their request for more information.

Zambada García was a driving force behind the investigation and arrest of Genaro Garcia Luna. He was arrested in Mexico in October 2008 and extradited to the United States in April 2012. According to Milenio, the Sinaloa cartel operator assured during his participation in the trial against Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán that he bribed García Luna on a couple of occasions:

Prosecutor: "Did you meet with Garcia Luna in a restaurant?"
Zambada: "Yes."
Prosecutor: "And the reason was because you were going to bribe him; you were going to give him three million dollars in a suitcase, correct?"
Zambada "Correct."
Zambada: "I personally delivered 3 million dollars to Genaro García Luna (in 2005) and in a second meeting (in 2006), around 5 million dollars," El Rey was heard testifying.
Zambada: Yes, there was money.
Prosecutor: That was money from El Mayo, from 2007, right?
Zambada: Right.
Zambada: So as not to interfere with the cartel's drug trafficking operations or his arrest.
The "important witness" is "El Rey" Zambada.
The "important witness" is "El Rey" Zambada. Photo: Agencies

On Monday, February 13, former Mexican Secretary of Public Security, Garcia Luna, returns to the Eastern District Court in Brooklyn for his fourth week of hearings. During these hearings, former drug traffickers and law enforcement officials from both Mexico and the United States have been constructing a narrative that paints Garcia Luna as the highest-ranking Mexican official who was receiving payments from the Beltran Leyva and Sinaloa cartels for nearly 12 years.

Jesus Zambada Garcia: A Drug Trafficking Kingpin

Jesús Reynaldo Zambada García was born on August 13, 1961, in Culiacán, Sinaloa, according to the US Treasury Department. He is the brother of Ismael Zambada Garcia, also known as "El Mayo," who is the current leader of a faction of the Sinaloa Cartel and a well-known old-school drug trafficker who has never been arrested.

Jesus Zambada's name gained notoriety after his capture in 2008 when authorities discovered that he played a central role in the Pacific Cartel. He was responsible for transporting cocaine from South America to the US using various modes of transportation, such as container ships, submarines, and airplanes. At the Mexico City International Airport, he also brought in the chemicals required to manufacture drugs.

In October 2008, Mexican authorities arrested Jesus Zambada, who was later extradited to the US in 2012. He pleaded guilty to multiple drug trafficking crimes. In 2018, Zambada served as a key witness in the trial of "El Chapo" Guzmán. He testified about his involvement in helping Guzmán evade capture and also revealed alleged connections between Mexican authorities and drug trafficking. In 2021, he was removed from the US Treasury Department's blacklist.