Skip to Georgetown Americas Institute Full Site Menu Skip to main content
March 27, 2023

The García Luna Case: Dirty Money and the War on Drugs

Showing the The García Luna Case: Dirty Money and the War on Drugs Video

In 2006 former Mexican president Felipe Calderon declared a “War on Drugs,” a government strategy intended to curb drug-related violence by using military force to crack down on major drug lords in the country. However, the strategy only served to provoke cartel leaders, resulting in an increased number of deaths related to drug violence. At the same time, investigative reporting has shown that many benefited monetarily from the War on Drugs, including “politicians, suppliers, brokers, spies, security companies, security advisors, police commanders, military chiefs, and arms and smoke merchants” according to Emmy award-winning bilingual investigative journalist Peniley Ramirez.

In her latest book Los millonarios de la Guerra: El expediente inédito de García Luna y sus socios (2020), Ramirez gives a detailed reconstruction of the rise of former Mexican official Genaro García Luna. He served in the country’s security establishment, culminating in his role as minister of public security in the cabinet of President Calderon from 2006 to 2012. Ramirez discussed her latest book and her perspectives on the War on Drugs in a conversation moderated by John Tutino, director of the Americas Forum.

This event was organized by the Americas Forum and co-sponsored by the Georgetown Americas Institute at Georgetown University.

Read the event summary here.


Peniley Ramírez is the executive producer of Futuro Investigates and Special Projects at Futuro Media. She writes a weekly column for the Mexican media group Reforma. Covering Genaro García Luna’s recent trial and conviction in New York, Ramírez co-hosted the USA v. García Luna podcast. Before joining Futuro, she worked as an investigative correspondent for Univision. Her reporting has led to several official investigations of politicians and businesspeople in Latin America and the United States. Ramírez has been part of global investigative projects, such as the Pulitzer award-winning “Panama Papers” and the Scripps Howard award-winning “Pandora Papers,” with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. After six nominations since 2016, Ramírez was awarded an Emmy for Outstanding Investigative Journalism in Spanish in 2022 for revealing a system of sexual abuses against megachurch La Luz del Mundo members. In 2021, she was awarded a Scripps Howard Foundation Jack R. Howard Fellowship in International Journalism and a Carlos M. Castaneda Journalism Scholarship to study at Columbia University, where she graduated with a master of arts in business and economics journalism. 

John Tutino is professor of history and international affairs at Georgetown University, where he is also director of the Americas Forum. He is author of Mexico City, 1808: Power, Sovereignty, and Silver in an Age of War and Revolution (2018) and editor of New Countries: Capitalism, Nations, and Revolutions in the Americas, 1750-1870 (2016).