Las Vegas Tribune
It is always the same end results when a powerful or famous figure seem to be going down; betrayals and lies come out, big mouth tough guys turn traitors, rats and cowards appearing on the witness stand repeating what the prosecutors want the jury to hear about the scapegoat they have on trial.
But this time, when the list of associates of Joaquin Guzman Loera end testifying for the federal prosecutors, the game may backfire on them and prove the defense team to be right, and the so-called drug baron may not be as big and important as they try to make him to be to justify the amount of money and resources wasted in the prosecution of the man known as El Chapo.
During his appearance on the witness stand for the prosecution, a one-time Sinaloa Cartel luminary-turned-federal witness recounted delivering multi-million dollar cash bribes to a top Mexican law enforcer and a former top employee of Mexico’s current president-elect.
Cartel turncoat Jesus Zambada Garcia, the first in a parade of informants due in the Guzman trial, testified that he delivered “several million dollars” to Gabriel Regino — an underling of newly-elected president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
One of Guzmán’s defense team of attorneys, William Purpura, on cross-examination had pushed for the possibility that Zambada Garcia could be the real head of the cartel rather than his client, who could be the Cartel scapegoat.
Last Thursday, January 3, Jesus Zambada Niebla, took the witness stand and began to betray his own father, Jesus Zambada Garcia, the alleged real leader of the Zinaloa Cartel, exposing some of the most real and secret businesses of the organization, proving once more the Guzman defense team theory that their client is not the real boss of the drug trade.
Since as early as Guzman Loera was extradited to the United States, and since the start of the trial in early November of last year, federal prosecutors have been doing their best to prove to a jury that Joaquin Guzmán Loera is “guilty of running a decades-long, multibillion-dollar conspiracy to traffic and distribute narcotics across North America.”
Over the course of two months, the government has brought forward witness after witness to describe how they worked with Guzmán to bring drugs to the United States by plane, train, and automobile, along with boats, submarines, tunnels, and hidden in pepper cans.
The parade of cooperating witnesses has included a confessed mass murderer who disfigured himself to evade capture, a former drug lord who spent more than a decade snorting up to four grams of cocaine a day, and a trafficker who once had so much cash lying around that he bought a soccer team.
Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada is reputedly the current leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, and for decades worked closely with El Chapo, even as other alliances with the cartel broke down in greed and bloodshed.
“El Mayo” has become a key figure at the trial, largely thanks to the defense team that, from the beginning, has attempted to position Zambada as the true kingpin of the Sinaloa Cartel.
The trial, after the Christmas break, resumed last Thursday (on January 3) and is expected to last at least eight more weeks; over the past week end the New York Times newspaper, which has followed the trial gavel to gavel from day one, wrote “In his opening arguments, defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman repeated Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada’s name like an incantation, and painted a picture of a man so powerful, so skilled at bribery, that the Mexican government would leave him untouched and the federal government of the United States would ignore him in favor of Guzmán.”
All testimonies so far from drug trafficking to bribing government officials, and ties to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have not been connected directly to Joaquin Guzman Loera, but the judge presiding in the case, Judge Brian M. Cogan, does no longer allow those details to be mentioned.