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Lawyers claim “El Chapo” was not the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel

July 2, 2018  |  Posted by: Michael Falzarano
Lawyers claim “El Chapo” was not the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel

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Lawyers: “El Chapo” was not the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel

Attorneys representing Mexican drug lord Joaquín Guzmán Loera, better known as “El Chapo” claim their client was merely a middleman – not the nefarious leader of the infamous Sinaloa Cartel.

Guzman who was extradited from Mexico in January 2017, has remained in custody at a Manhattan federal lockup awaiting trial for running a murderous transnational criminal enterprise known as the Sinaloa Cartel.

Prosecutors described Guzman as a ruthless cartel leader, who personally ordered teams of assassins – or ‘Sicarios’ to execute thousands of victims in furtherance of the criminal enterprise.

El Chapo

Attorneys claim the Mexican drug lord was not the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel but a lieutenant (Photo: DEA)

However, during a court hearing last Tuesday, attorneys for the alleged kingpin gave their first hint of the defense strategy Guzman’s legal team will take by refuting prosecutors claims.

Lawyers claimed evidence existed showing Guzman was not the top boss of the Sinaloa Cartel but was instead a mere “lieutenant” who was under the orders of another top capo.

Adding some credence to the argument was a sealed letter sent to Brooklyn Federal Judge Brian Corgan three weeks ago, in which prosecutors conceded that over the years, some confidential informants repudiated “El Chapo’s” position as the Sinaloa Cartel’s top boss, telling authorities that despite his notoriety, Guzmán was a figurehead.

Although the intelligence provided by the informants remained sealed, a member of “El Chapo’s” legal team, Eduardo Balarezo, asked Judge Brian M. Cogan during the hearing to force the Justice Department to reveal further information provided by cooperating witnesses.

Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán remains at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan, awaiting trial

The motion seeks the disclosure of the identities of informants, along with the dates and locations of where the statements were provided, The New York Times reported.

Attorneys argue they could further investigate the allegations and incorporate the evidence into Guzman’s defense.

Consequently, prosecutors rejected the assertions, arguing the information provided by informants was second or third hand and was “mired in layers of hearsay.”

Judge Corgan declined to issue a ruling from the bench, stating he sought more information before making a decision.

However, under the “Brady Rule,” federal prosecutors are mandated to disclose all pretrial exculpatory evidence in the government’s possession to a defendant.

Meanwhile, the judge also said he was considering a motion request by attorneys to move the trial venue to Manhattan Federal Court.

Although “El Chapo” is facing trial in Brooklyn, he remains incarcerated in Manhattan Correctional Center, which requires extraordinary security protocols.

Traffic in bustling lower Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn must be rerouted everytime Guzman has to appear in court.

In addition, authorities must shut down the Brooklyn Bridge while a motorcade of armored vehicles, police cruisers, and ambulances transports the purported drug lord across the East River.

The process will only increase once the high profile trial commences in September.

Closures would roughly occur during the morning and evening rush hours, making a chaotic mess of the traffic situation in the busy areas.

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