2/01/2019

DRUG -BLOODY- TRADE


NEW YORK :  Over the space of nearly three months, a New York jury has heard 54 witnesses deliver dramatic evidence against accused Mexican drug boss Joaqyuin ''EI Chapo'' Guzman.

Former associates, ex-employee and a onetime mistress, most of them now inmates American prisons, have drawn a  blood-soaked  picture of the Sinaloa cartel - of which EL Chapo was co-leader for 25 years - confirming that violent TV series like ''Narcos'' about notorious drug trafficker Pablo Escobar have not strayed far from the truth.

According to the witnesses, the Sinaloa cartel flooded the United States with cocaine with the blessing of countless  police, military officers  and Mexican officials - going all the way up to the president - who turned their heads in exchange for bribes worth millions.

The prosecution lawyers in New York, having shone a stark spotlight on the powerful cartel, are close to wrapping up their case. The question now is whether the defence can introduce sufficient doubt to save EI Chapo from conviction and a likely life sentence.

Compromising recordings : With the help of Christian Rodriguez, a Colombian who was EI Chapo's communications chief, US government agents intercepted some 200 conversations  between the cartel boss and his associates, hired killers, and corrupt Mexican officials.

Investigators also intercepted encrypted messages between EI Chapo and others, sent on  Blackberries, that the trafficker used to spy on his associates and his mistress.

In one message read to the jury, EI Chapo speaks with associate and a former mistress known as  ''La Fiera'' about setting up dummy corporations in Germany and Ecuador in order to export drugs  ''to Europe, to Canada, to Australia and to the United States.''

They also discuss the purchase in Belize of 700  kilograms  [1,540 pounds] of cocaine. [Agencies]

NEW YORK : Over the space of nearly three months, a New York jury has heard 54 witnesses deliver dramatic evidence against accused Mexican drug boss.

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