Witness claims ‘El Chapo’ discussed killing cop as favor to mayor

A former top lieutenant to 'El Chapo' said he and his former boss had discussed killing a police officer as a favor to the mayor of La Paz

Witness claims ‘El Chapo’ discussed killing cop as favor to mayor
The mayor of La Paz in 2013 was Esthela Ponce Beltrán, who could not immediately be reached for comment - Photo: Jane Rosenberg/Reuters
English 23/01/2019 12:24 Reuters Mexico City Brendan Pierson Actualizada 12:48

A former top lieutenant to accused Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán on Tuesday said he and his former boss once discussed killing a police officer as a favor to a local politician.

Dámaso López Nuñez, testifying against Guzmán in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, walked jurors through a BlackBerry message exchange in September 2013 in which he said he told Guzmán that the mayor of La Paz, a city in the state of Baja California Sur, wanted them to “remove” a “cop that has been bothering her.”

Guzmán, Nuñez said, responded that they should do the mayor the “favor,” because she was a favorite for a state-level office in an upcoming election. He said they should make the hit look like “revenge from some gangbanger.”

López did not say whether the murder took place.

The mayor of La Paz in 2013 was Esthela Ponce Beltrán, who could not immediately be reached for comment.

Guzmán, 61, who was extradited to the United States in 2017, has been on trial since November on charges of trafficking cocaine, heroin and other drugs into the country as leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, one of the world’s largest drug trafficking organizations.

His lawyers have argued that he has been framed by the cartel’s real leader, Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada.

López, 52, was arrested in Mexico City on U.S. drug charges in 2017 and extradited to the United States in July, where he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison. He said Tuesday he is hoping to have his sentence reduced by cooperating with prosecutors.

At the time of López’s arrest in May 2017, Mexican officials said he was believed to have been seeking an alliance with Guzmán’s rival, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.

López spent much of his time on the stand corroborating testimony from the dozen or so other cartel members who have appeared at the trial, now in its third month.

López said he began working for Guzmán around 2001, helping to arrange drug shipments and bribe government officials, and eventually becoming godfather to one of Guzmán’s twin daughters.

López is expected to continue testifying Wednesday.

After jurors had left for the day, one of the prosecutors, Gina Parlovecchio, told U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan the prosecution expected to wrap up its case either Thursday afternoon or Monday morning.

After that, Guzmán’s lawyers will have a chance to call their own witnesses. It is not yet known whether Guzmán will testify himself.
 

dm
 

 

Video