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Treacherous line of witnesses who will testify against Mexican drug lord ‘El Chapo’ Guzman

May 29, 2016  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Treacherous line of witnesses who will testify against Mexican drug lord ‘El Chapo’ Guzman

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As the legal process continues over the approaching extradition of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera to the United States, where he will stand trial for drug-related offenses allegedly committed as the infamous leader of the Sinaloa Federation Cartel, U.S. federal prosecutors are preparing an extensive list of key witnesses.

In an announcement made last week, Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs approved the extradition of the Mexican drug lord to the U.S. where he faces charges in several different jurisdictions.

The government agency approved two official requests from the Federal Districts Courts in Texas and San Diego.

According to court documents obtained by EFE News Agency, U.S. prosecutors are expected to call witnesses to testify against Guzman, which includes old bitter rivals, one-time close allies, along with some that are in custody or living in the federal witness protection program.

The U.S. government’s star witnesses are Chicago-area twins Pedro and Margarito Flores, former partners of El Chapo, who oversaw the entire distribution network for the Sinaloa Cartel and Beltran Leyva Organization when the two were still considered allies.

The Flores brothers, who are considered to be the two the largest narcotics distributors that the U.S. has ever seen, have turned as informants against top operatives of the Sinaloa cartel, including El Chapo Guzman.

In 2008, the Flores twins agreed to cooperate with U.S. authorities, in return, each brother received a reduced sentence of 14 years in prison and are considered to be the prosecution’s star witnesses against Guzman.

“The Flores brothers could be very important witnesses, they were Chapo’s customers, they managed to record conversations with him and even stayed with him personally,” said Thomas D. Shakeshaft, a former prosecutor for the Northern Illinois District who led the investigation against the Twins.

With their cooperation, Shakeshaft said the DEA managed for the first time to obtain transcripts of telephone calls between Guzman Loera and the Flores brothers.

In one of the conversations recorded by Flores, the cartel kingpin agrees to lower the price for 20 kilos of heroin to $ 50,000 per kilo, instead of $55 thousand.

The witness list will almost certainly include another top Mexican drug lord who El Chapo had allegedly betrayed, Alfredo Beltran Leyva, better known as El Mochomo or the Desert Ant.

Beltran-Leyva along with his brothers led the Beltran Leyva Organization (BLO), who at one time operated as a faction of the Sinaloa Cartel allied with Guzman.

However, after the 2008 arrest of Beltran-Leyva by Mexican authorities, “El Chapo” was accused of betrayal by tipping off authorities of “El Mochomo’s” location by his brothers who splintered off to form their independent group.

The BLO-Sinaloa Cartel split sparked a violent turf war over smuggling routes between the two organizations.

Beltran Leyva is currently imprisoned after pleading guilty back in February to drug trafficking charges in the Federal Court for the District of Columbia, Washington and is awaiting sentencing.

Another key witness would be the notorious Texas-born drug lord, Edgar Valdez Villareal, alias “La Barbie,” who is one of the few American-born narcos ever to climb the ranks of a Mexican drug trafficking organization.

Villarreal pleaded guilty in January to charges listed in a drug trafficking indictment out of the Northern District of Georgia and is awaiting sentencing.

By testifying against Guzman, ‘La Barbie’ could avoid spending the rest of his life in prison.

“La Barbie” led a team of Sicarios or hit men for the Sinaloa cartel known as Los Negros in a violent turf war against the ruthless Los Zetas for control of the border city of Nuevo Laredo.

The native of Laredo, Texas would eventually leave the Sinaloa Cartel and became Arturo Beltran-Leyva’s top Lieutenant.

Shakeshaft along with David Weinstein, a former prosecutor who was in charge of the anti-narcotics division for the Southern District of Florida, say that there are over dozen former high-ranking drug traffickers currently in custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons of Mexican, Colombian, and US origins who could testify against “El Chapo” Guzman.

Other notable potential witnesses, who the government could rely on, are the family members of El Chapo’s long time partner Ismael ‘El Mayo’ Zambada including his brother Jesus Reynaldo Zambada Garcia, known as “El Rey Zambada,” who was extradited to the U.S. in 2012. Along with his two sons Serafín Zambada Ortiz and Vincente Zambada Niebla.

Guzman is expected to face trial in Brooklyn’s Eastern District Federal Court.

If convicted, he could see him spend the rest of his life at the (ADX) Supermax Prison in Florence, Colorado, also known as the “Alcatraz of the Rockies” because of its harsh conditions.

That could be the reason why Guzman’s attorney has recently repeated previous statements that his client would be open to an agreement with U.S. federal authorities, waiving his appeals against extradition and avoiding trial altogether.

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