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Prosecutors: Foreigners who join drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman legal team, could pose danger to families of protected witnesses

March 8, 2017  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Prosecutors: Foreigners who join drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman legal team, could pose danger to families of protected witnesses Mexican officials have confirmed that the rise in violence in several states is attributed to the extradition of 'El Chapo'

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Federal prosecutors in New York are seeking a court order asking a judge to subject any foreigner who joins the defense team of Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman to be subjected to an extreme vetting process by the US government, in an effort to prevent a member of the Sinaloa Cartel from gaining access to important information regarding the upcoming trial of the Mexican drug lord.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York submitted the request to Judge Brian Cogan in Brooklyn Federal Court, El Universal reported.

Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman pleaded not guilty to a 17-count indictment, charging him with running the Sinaloa Federation Cartel, a massive multi-billion dollar transnational criminal enterprise for over two decades, which is responsible for the trafficking of multi-ton quantities of illegal narcotics into the United States from Mexico annually.

Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Archivaldo Guzman Loera is shown with an NYPD official after arriving in New York on Jan. 19th

‘El Chapo’ who was extradited from Mexico to the U.S. on January 20th, also stands accused of conspiring to murder members of rival drug trafficking groups and Mexican law enforcement in furtherance of his criminal enterprise, along with money laundering, racketeering, and weapons trafficking.

“If a lawyer or foreign investigator who maintains possible ties to the Sinaloa Cartel joins the defense team, he could travel to the United States, gain access to and review the evidence that is protected and travel outside the United States with that knowledge,” acting Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Robert Capers and Arthur Wyatt wrote in a letter to the judge.

Moreover, federal prosecutors added, “If a cartel member traveled to the United States and discovered the identity of a Mexican collaborating witness, he could then travel to Mexico with that information and provide intelligence such as the witness’s name to other members of the Sinaloa Cartel who could kidnap or kill the family of that witness,” according to El Universal.

DEA officers are seen escorting ‘El Chapo’ through the airport after he was extradited to the US

As JammedUp News previously reported, prosecutors are expected to trot out a witness list to testify against the drug kingpin, with over 40 cooperating informants, including top Colombian drug lords, former Sinaloa Cartel associates, and members of rival Mexican drug trafficking organizations.

In a previous request to the judge, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has stressed the sensitive nature of the case and requested the identities of the cooperating witnesses remain anonymous citing safety concerns.

Guzman is scheduled to appear back in court in May.

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