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Federal judge strikes down pre-trial motion filed by cartel boss

February 9, 2016  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Federal judge strikes down pre-trial motion filed by cartel boss

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A federal district court judge has struck down a motion filed by the attorneys for drug lord Alfredo “El Mochomo” Beltran Leyva requesting access to a complete list revealing the identities of the cooperating witnesses who are set to testify against him at his upcoming trial.

Alfredo Beltran-Leyva along with his brothers Arturo, Carlos and Hector, allegedly ran the Beltran-Leyva drug cartel (BLO). He is scheduled to stand trial on a drug trafficking indictment out of the Federal District Court of Washington D.C.

Prosecutors charged “El Mochomo,” who was arrested in Mexico back in 2009 and extradited to the U.S. in 2014, with trafficking multi-ton shipments of narcotics as a leader in the BLO.

According to Borderland Beat citing information from the case discovery, Federal prosecutors will base their case against El Mochomo on the testimony of cooperating witnesses, which the majority of the evidence gathered derives from information generated from former high-level cartel operatives who have since cooperated with U.S. authorities.

The cooperating witnesses who have provided information were either charged or faced with indictments.

Attorneys for Beltrán Leyva filed a motion seeking to interview each confidential informant who provided information to federal investigators regardless if they are to be called upon to testify by prosecutors at trial or not.

The defense motion argues that because of the lack of physical evidence linking Beltran-Leyva to the conspiracy, prosecutors must rely on the testimony of individuals who have either actively engaged in criminal activity or sought compensation in return for their cooperation.

One of the witnesses is believed to have led an enforcement group for the rival Sinaloa cartel.

In the filings, Beltran Leyva’s defense requests access to the identities on the government’s list of witnesses.

Beltran-Leyva’s attorneys questioned the motives and cast into doubt the credibility of the prosecution’s witnesses, arguing that any testimony against their client would be biased.

The motion states:

“Without disclosure of the informant’s identity and the ability to interview the informant or call the informant as a witness, Mr. Beltrán Leyva might well be forced to testify to try to establish that he had a lack of knowledge or intent.

Where the informant is a participant and material witness to the crime charged. He or she is applicable herein on certain government witnesses. It would force Mr. Beltrán Leyva to testify, which would deprive him of the right to interview or call such a witness constitutes a denial of fundamental fairness, and violates both his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and his Sixth Amendment rights to confrontation as well as to effective assistance of counsel.

If the defense is not alerted to the identity of these witnesses insufficient time to conduct a thorough investigation, Mr. Beltrán Leyva’s right to confront his accusers will be severely prejudiced.”

A list of operatives who the feds have removed from the Federal Bureau of Prisons and placed in protective custody include leading Sinaloa cartel figures include:

José Rodrigo Aréchiga Gamboa alias El Chino Antrax, the former leader of the enforcement wing of the Sinaloa cartel loyal to top boss Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, known as Los Antrax.

Gamboa, who was extradited in July 2014, is believed to be the mastermind behind the assassinations of senior figures from rival organizations including the Beltran-Leyva, Arrellano-Felix and Juarez cartels, including the 2013 murder of rival cartel head Francisco Arellano Felix.

Vincente Zambada Niebla, is the son to El Mayo Zambada, who at one time was the chief logistics coordinator for the cartel. Mexican authorities arrested Zambada in March of 2009 and subsequently extradited him to the U.S. in February 2010.

Serafin Zambada Ortiz is the U.S. born son of “El Mayo Zambada, who was arrested in November 2013, by DEA agents at the U.S.-Mexico border crossing in Nogales, Arizona.

Jesus Zambada alias “El Rey” is the brother of El Mayo Zambada, who was considered one of the top leaders of the Sinaloa cartel along with his brother and Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. He was extradited back in 2012.

At one time, the BLO worked as a faction of the Sinaloa cartel allied with its other leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. However, friction would lead to a split between the two organizations. After Beltran-Leyva’s arrest, his brothers, led by Arturo, accused Guzman of tipping off authorities with information that resulted in his capture.

The BLO would become allies with Guzman’s arch enemies the Los Zetas, a group of former commandos who formed as a paramilitary wing of the Gulf cartel and a bloody war would ensue for control of the smuggling routes into the U.S.

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