Key witness against El Chapo is sentenced to 15 years in prison

Vicente Zambada Niebla, former member of the Sinaloa Cartel, could be out of prison in 3-5 years

Key witness against El Chapo is sentenced to 15 years in prison
‘El Vicentillo,’ who was once a key member of the Sinaloa Cartel, handling logistics in the shipment of tons of cocaine via cargo planes - Photo: Alberto Vera/EFE
English 31/05/2019 14:08 Newsroom & Agencies Mexico City Víctor Sancho/EL UNIVERSAL, CNN Actualizada 14:08
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Vicente Zambada Niebla, also known as Vicentillo, a key witness in Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán’s trial, which ended with the conviction of the Mexican drug lord over 10 criminal charges, was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment last Thursday for crimes related to drug trafficking.

However, Zambada Niebla, who is son to another Mexican kingpin, Ismael ‘El Mayo’ Zambada, the alleged new leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, will only spend two to five years in prison, since U.S. prosecutors will take into account the 10 years he has spent in prison (both in the U.S. and Mexico) and his sentence will likely be shortened for good conduct.

During Guzmán’s trial, Zambada Niebla explained how he had played an important role in the Sinaloa Cartel’s drug trafficking activities and described paying about USD$1 million a month in bribes to Mexican officials in order to move drugs through Mexico into the U.S.

On May 21, prosecutors from the Federal Court recommended that the judge Rubén Castillo issue a 17 year sentence for Vicentillo, considering his valuable and extraordinary cooperation with the U.S. government in drug trafficking cases, through which numerous members of the Sinaloa Cartel and a rival criminal group have been brought to justice.

El Vicentillo, who was once a key member of the Sinaloa Cartel, handling logistics in the shipment of tons of cocaine via cargo planes, trains, and even a submarine into the United States, once faced a maximum life sentence

He was arrested in 2009 in Mexico City and extradited to the U.S. the following year.

Last year, Vicente reached a plea bargainwith prosecutors through which he committed to paying USD$1.37 billion and cooperating with U.S. authorities in exchange for a reduced sentence and a residence permit for him and his family.
 

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