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U.S. prosecutors will call Chicago twins as star witnesses in trials of cartel bosses

February 20, 2016  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
U.S. prosecutors will call Chicago twins as star witnesses in trials of cartel bosses

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One of the two men who oversaw the U.S. distribution network for the powerful Sinaloa Federation is expected to take the stand in an upcoming trial of a leading cartel figure and could play a pivotal role in the future trial of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, when and if he is extradited.

Prosecutors are scheduled to call Pedro Flores to testify in the Washington D.C. Federal District Court at the upcoming trial of Alfredo Beltran-Leyva, alias “Mochomo” or “desert ant,” who along with his three brothers led the drug cartel known as the Beltran-Leyva Organization (BLO).

Twins Pedro and Margarito Flores lead a billion dollar drug enterprise out of a Chicago neighborhood called little village.

The Flores twins’ vast criminal enterprise involved overseeing U.S. drug distribution operations for the Sinaloa cartel and BLO.

Beltran-Leyva’s trial has garnered little media attention in comparison to the worldwide headlines encapsulated by El Chapo’s Hollywood-style prison escape back in July and his recapture by Mexican Marines in a daring pre-dawn raid in the town of Los Mochis last month.

At one time, the BLO operated as an ultra-violent faction of the Sinaloa Federation allied with its leaders Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and his partner Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada.

However, the alliance splintered in 2008, with the capture by Mexican authorities of “El Mochomo” who was caught with eight pistols, an AK-47 assault rifle, along with two suitcases filled with about $900,000 in cash, prosecutors have said.

After his arrest, his three brothers led by Arturo blamed “El Chapo” for tipping off authorities with information that resulted in Alfredo’s capture.

What ensued was a split between the groups that resulted in a violent turf war over the vital drug plazas, which are drug smuggling corridors into the U.S.

The violence was the mitigating factor that resulted in the Flores Twins cooperating with U.S. authorities.

Federal law enforcement officials said the brothers had feared for their lives and those of their families, which was realized after the murder of their father in 2009 in Mexico.

Both previously faced life in prison. However, they would become the highest ranking members of the Sinaloa cartel ever to cooperate with authorities.

U.S. law enforcement officials say their cooperation led to the most significant narcotics investigation in the history of Chicago.

As a result, the Flores brothers were sentenced to 14 years in prison in January. The upcoming testimony of Margarito Flores will mark the first public appearance either brother have made since cooperating.

As JammedUp previously reported, the trial was scheduled to start on Tuesday, February 16th but was postponed the day before after Beltran-Leyva’s lawyer filed a motion for a 90-day, which stated he needed time to investigate the list of cooperating witnesses in the case.

U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon is scheduled to issue a decision on Tuesday whether to grant a further extension.

Flores is expected to tell the court details of twins’ relationship with top figures of BLO, who used the Flores brothers to import thousands of kilos of cocaine from Mexico to key U.S. distribution points.

The Twins would then oversee the wholesale distribution to customers throughout major U.S. cities across the U.S., including in Chicago, court documents show.

The indictment explains how the BLO was notorious for employing teams of “sicarios,” or hit men, to commit numerous murders, kidnappings, and employed violent tactics to collect drug debts.

Prosecutors will call two men who led hit squads for Beltran-Leyva, identified in court records only as “El Rayito” and “Wacho.”

The two witnesses are expected to tell the court how they engaged in the torturing of rival cartel members on the orders of the Beltran-Leyva brothers.

Mexican law enforcement officials say even after apprehending Alfredo Beltran-Leyva, he continued to conduct business for the cartel from behind bars.

According to the court filing, the BLO-Sinaloa cartel war resulted in the murder of hundreds of people in Mexico, including numerous law enforcement officers, politicians and even Edgar Guzman, the son of El Chapo Guzman.

In the summer of 2008, as the violence between the two groups raged, the twins began wearing wires, recording multiple conversations in with top BLO lieutenants, among them was Manuel Fernandez-Navarro.

Pedro told Fernandez-Navarro in one conversation how his brother had a recent meeting with El Chapo and other senior figures within the Federation at a mountaintop compound in Sinaloa.

Guzman allegedly had discussed a brazen plot to attack a U.S. or Mexican government or media building in retaliation for the arrest of Jesus Zambada, a top boss, and brother to El Mayo Zambada.

Court records also revealed Guzman wanted it done in a way so that blame would fall on the shoulders of the Beltran-Leyva brothers.

The twins later recorded a conversation with Fernandez-Navarro, where they discussed a deal to ship more than 1,000 kilos of Beltran-Leyva’s cocaine to Los Angeles.

Fernandez-Navarro seemed irritated in another conversation because the twins hadn’t committed to the large amount.

“Hey! I need you to tell me for sure,” Fernandez-Navarro said, according to a transcript of the call in court records. “You haven’t said anything for sure yet. I haven’t called the guy… because your brother just keeps saying that it’s 600 and then that it’s 800. I need something definite so that I can be able to move the trucks.”

Flores assured Fernandez-Navarro that the deal was “for sure” and that all the percentages could be worked out.

“When my brother gets in and calls you, you and he can figure it out, no?” Margarito Flores said.

Authorities in Chicago would unseal an indictment less than a year later against Fernandez-Navarro and El Mochomo’s older brother, Arturo Beltran Leyva alias El Barbas, who was the reputed head operator for the BLO.

“El Barbas,” died during a ferocious 90-minute gun battle with the Mexican Marines in December 2009.

Fernandez-Navarro currently awaits sentencing before U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman after pleading guilty to charges in the indictment.

U.S. and Mexico officials have publically stated they are working to extradite Guzman to the U.S., where he is facing charges in seven jurisdictions, including Chicago, Brooklyn, Manhattan, San Diego, El Paso, Miami, and Washington D.C.

Experts predict Guzman will likely stand trial in Brooklyn’s Eastern District Court, where he faces 12 counts of murder, in the killing of cartel rivals, police, and military personnel as well as local politicians in Mexico.

It would mark the first time a defendant would face charges involving the murders of non-U.S. citizens that took place in another country.

The Flores twins are also expected to be the prosecution’s star witnesses in the future trial of Guzman.

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