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El Chapo Guzmán transferred by helicopter in Mexico before his extradition to the United States (Photo: PGR Mexico)
The journalist Anabel Hernández, specialized in drug trafficking issues, announced in June 2020 that Two of the founders of the Sinaloa Cartel, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera and Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, gave information to the United States intelligence agencies.
The journalist was referring specifically to the Anti-Drug Agency (DEA, for its acronym in English). The information was reported to him by Vicente Zambada Niebla “El Vicentillo”, son of “El Mayo” Zambada, who is incarcerated in a United States jail in addition to being a witness for the Prosecutor’s Office in the trial against Chapo.
According to “El Vicentillo” the two drug traffickers held meetings with the DEA to deliver information about their enemies, specifically the drug dealers of the Beltrán Leyva Cartel.
The US agency has not ruled on the matter and Guzmán Loera’s lawyers in both Mexico and the US have not. Though During the trial that followed the drug trafficker in 2018 and 2019 on US soil, his legal representatives assured that he preferred to be sentenced to life imprisonment than to become a protected witness.
El Chapo’s lawyers assured at the time that their client refused to be a protected witness for the United States (Photo: Reuters)
However, There are records in which Guzmán Loera is singled out for having tried to negotiate with the DEA in exchange for the United States not requesting his extradition.
In October 1998, while he was imprisoned in the Federal Center for Social Rehabilitation of Puente Grande, in Jalisco, from where he would escape for the first time three years later, he would have offered to hand over information to the United States in exchange for the government not requesting his extradition. Mike Vigil, former director of International Operations for the DEA, confirmed to Infobae Mexico that at the request of the drug trafficker, an undercover agent and a security analyst met him in jail.
“They presented themselves as social workers, the agreement was that they would appear before Chapo with the password of ‘Tito’”. Explained that the meeting was in a closed room and as soon as the word was mentioned, the founder of the Sinaloa Cartel went into a state of paranoia and dropped to the floor to make sure no one was listening to them on the other side of the door.
The Puente Grande federal prison, the place where Chapo Guzmán met with a DEA agent (Photo: REUTERS / Bernardo De Niz)
“He said that if we did not request – the US government – the extradition would give us information on routes and corrupt officials who collaborated with drug traffickers, but what he offered was very poor information, names of small-time people that were of no use to us. nothing, ”Vigil assured by telephone.
Chapo’s negotiation with the DEA did not materialize and after two escapes from maximum security prisons in Mexico, one of them through a tunnel, Guzmán Loera he was recaptured and extradited to the United States in January 2017.
On May 9, 2016, a judge in Mexico approved the US government’s request to extradite him. and since October of that year, a federal magistrate had ordered the measure, but his lawyer insisted on presenting two more appeals that were rejected.
“The Government of the Republic informs that today the Fifth Collegiate Court in Criminal Matters in Mexico City, decided to deny the protection and protection of the Federal Justice to Joaquín Guzmán Loera against the agreements of May 20, 2016 that grant his extradition to the United States of America to be prosecuted for various crimes, considering that the agreements complied with the constitutional norms, the requirements established in the bilateral treaty and other legal provisions in force for their issuance and that they were not, nor have they their human rights have been violated in the procedures instituted, ”it was reported in a statement.
Guzmán Loera was found guilty of 10 crimes related to drug trafficking and money laundering and is serving a life sentence plus an additional 30 years in the ADX Florence jail in Colorado, known for being the most brutal in the United States.
El Chapo spends 23 hours a day in his cell, has no contact with other inmates and he only has the opportunity to go to the patio for one hour a day and inside a cage.
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