A cartel prince who knows everything there is to know about the Sinaloa drug cartel has testified against El Chapo, stunning the courtroom.
Vicente Zambada Niebla is the son of one of the cartel’s leaders, Ismael Zambada García, and was groomed to take control of the group from a young age.
But yesterday (January 3), in a shock twist, the ‘prince’ went against his birthright and betrayed his father by testifying for more than five hours against Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman.
El Chapo headed the Sinaloa Cartel, a criminal organisation formed in the Mexican Pacific coast state of Sinaloa. He’s considered one of the most powerful drug traffickers and one of the most dangerous men in the world.
The 61-year-old Mexican cartel kingpin is currently on trial at Brooklyn Federal Courthouse and is accused of 17 different indictments. He was captured in January 2016 after escaping from prisons in Mexico not once, but twice.
Not only is he accused of running an ongoing criminal enterprise, but he is also facing charges of international distribution of drugs, arms possession, money laundering, and conspiracy.
As the trial continues, more and more shocking stories about the Mexican cartel kingpin’s antics over the years are coming to light, but perhaps no one was expecting a cartel prince to turn against him.
But that’s exactly what Zambada did; as reported by the New York Times, he testified for more than five hours about nearly every aspect of the drug cartel – including smuggling routes, money-laundering schemes and multimillion dollar bribes.
Sparing no detail, the cartel prince proved he knew almost everything about the criminal enterprise he seemed set to lead one day.
Zambada testified that the Sinaloa Cartel was handing out more than $1 million in per month in bribes to Mexican officials, in an attempt to keep their business running.
Not only that, but the cartel prince told countless stories of how El Chapo and his father would ship tons of drugs in cars, trains, planes and submarines.
The 43-year-old also spoke of ‘officials’ who would be paid off by the cartel, including an army general who worked as an official in the Mexican defence department, who Zambada recalled received $50,000 a month from the cartel, the New York Post reports.
He also said that his father regularly bribed a military officer, known only as ‘Colonel Adams’, who once served as a high-ranking member of Mexico’s former president, Vicente Fox’s, security detail.
This Colonel personally helped El Chapo avoid arrest following his escape from prison in 2001, Zambada claimed.
After Chapo escaped, he [Colonel Adams] was one of the ones who would give us information.
He didn’t just make reference to Guzman though; throughout his testimony he also spoke about the kingpin’s suppliers, distributors, bodyguards, assassins, cousins, brothers and sons.
El Chapo has pleaded not guilty to the various charges he faces. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.
The trial continues.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).