The U.S. government managed to intercept 271 conversations between Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and his accomplices over the course of two decades.
According to Vice News, U.S. federal prosecutors are expected to present the phone intercepts as evidence in Guzman’s upcoming “Trial of the Century,” which officials maintain will shed light on the murky world of drug trafficking.
Guzman was extradited to Brooklyn in January to face a 17-count indictment charging him with heading the Sinaloa Federation Cartel, a multi-billion dollar transnational criminal enterprise responsible for the large-scale trafficking of narcotics into the U.S., conspiracy, murder, racketeering, arms trafficking, and money laundering.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for New York’s Eastern District Court alleges that the conversations, which would be presented to the court and made available to Guzman’s legal defense team on a hard drive, confirms his guilt for crimes he allegedly committed as the leader of the Sinaloa Federal Cartel.
Although federal prosecutors have not stated in which period the conversations were intercepted or country the calls originated from, officials say federal authorities have remained on the trail of “El Chapo” since at least 2003.
In addition to the phone intercepts, the U.S. government also has a witness list containing 40 high-level cooperating informants.
Witnesses expected to take the stand include imprisoned Colombian drug lords and former Sinaloa Cartels associates who will corroborate the details involving the drug trafficking organization’s operation, including the methods employed by Guzman and his criminal enterprise to smuggle tons of narcotics into the United States, the prosecutor said.
Moreover, witnesses will provide details of the Sinaloa Cartel’s operation including production, processing, and packaging of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana along with the extensive distribution networks operating in the United States.
The prosecution is also anticipated to call expert witnesses to testify on the purity of the drug seized and firearms confiscated by authorities over the past two decades.
Although the U.S. Attorney must provide the “El Chapo’s” defense with the findings they will present to the court; any evidence must remain strictly in possession of the capo’s attorneys.
Citing security concerns, Federal District Judge Brian Cogan presiding the case has strictly prohibited the drug lord’s attorneys from disclosing information to anyone outside of Guzman’s legal defense team, which would include the names of possible witnesses, legal assistants, investigators, and translators involved with the investigation.
Guzman is scheduled to appear back in Brooklyn Federal Court on May 5th.