Oscar “El Lobo” Nava Valencia Spills the Beans on Narco-Corruption

Get the latest update on the ongoing trial as a former capo Oscar “El Lobo” Nava Valencia testifies about giving millions of dollars in bribes to high-ranking government officials.

Oscar “El Lobo” Nava Valencia Spills the Beans on Narco-Corruption
Oscar Nava Valencia, alias "El Lobo", and former leader of the Milenio cartel, which had agreements with the Beltran Leyva and the Sinaloa Cartel, declared that he paid $10 million to Calderon's supercop to get free retained merchandise. Credit: Jenaro Villamil

A mid-level capo with ties to the Sinaloa Cartel testified Monday that he gave Genaro Garcia Luna more than $10 million in cash bribes when Garcia Luna was secretary of public security. He also said that former Defense Secretary Guillermo Galvan Galvan was also involved in the narco-corruption.

Oscar "El Lobo" Nava Valencia, the former leader of the Milenio Cartel, a branch of the Sinaloa Cartel, was the first witness in this trial to say that he gave the defendant millions of dollars in bribes. Until then, the other witnesses had only said that they had seen or heard about these bribes.

When asked by the prosecution, Nava Valencia, who was wearing a canary-yellow prison uniform, said that he had met the defendant twice in person and that Arturo Beltran Leyva had put them in touch.

The first time he participated in a payment to Garcia Luna was in 2006, as part of a "polla" or collection coordinated by Arturo Beltran Leyva. "I got 2.5 million dollars," he said, adding that he expects "more control and security" for drug trafficking operations, as well as "improved access to airports and seaports and information on operations such as rivals' movements."

But the first time he met personally, he said, was in 2007 to solve a "problem" with a shipment of 10 tons of cocaine that arrived by ship from Colombia to the port of Manzanillo and was seized by the Navy, along with another container with another 10 tons that belonged to Arturo Beltran Leyva on the same ship. Each container was worth US$30 million, and the costs of shipping them added up to another US$20 million.

Oscar Nava Valencia, alias "El Lobo Valencia," a former member of the Milenio Cartel.
Oscar Nava Valencia, alias "El Lobo Valencia," a former member of the Milenio Cartel, claimed in court that he directly paid $10 million to Genaro García Luna to get free drugs held in Manzanillo. Credit: Libro Negro

Who is Óscar Nava Valencia, alias "El Lobo"?

Oscar Orlando Nava Valencia, also known as El Lobo, assumed the leadership of the Milenio Cartel after his uncle Armando Valencia Cornelio was arrested in August 2003. El Lobo and his brother Juan, also known as "El Tigre," were in charge of moving cocaine from different countries in Central and South America to the port of Manzanillo, Colima, using boats.

El Lobo Valencia was arrested in Guadalajara, Jalisco, and was identified by the Secretary of National Defense (Sedena) as the leader of the criminal group Los Valencia or Cartel del Milenio, an organization that was born in the early 1990s. The criminal organizations in Jalisco and Michoacán were primarily concerned with the cultivation and harvesting of narcotics. It is worth noting that by 2008 when there was a break between the Beltran Leyva and Guzman Loera groups, the Milenio Cartel remained an ally of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

This conflict led to the appearance of threatening messages against Oscar Orlando Nava in Morelos. The Army identified Nava Valencia as operating mainly in Jalisco and Colima; however, he managed to expand to Michoacán and the then-Federal District. After a fight, El Lobo was caught with nine members of his criminal organization, 22 long arms, five short arms, 13 vehicles, 4,000 cartridges, communication equipment, cash, and other items.

Military reports indicate that he was a close collaborator of Ignacio Coronel Villarreal, alias Nacho Coronel. El Lobo is serving a sentence in the US, where he was sent after being arrested in 2011 for criminal association and crimes against health. He could get out of jail in 2025, though.