Trial of accused drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman continued on Tuesday in Brooklyn, NY
Alex Cifuentes, Guzman’s self-described one-time ‘right hand man’ testified that he gave former Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto a $100million bribe while he was on the run
Cifuentes is one of about a dozen witnesses who have so far testified against Guzman after striking deals with U.S. prosecutors
The trial has provided a window into the secretive world of the Sinaloa Cartel, one of the world’s most powerful drug trafficking organizations
Cifuentes said a woman took the money to Nieto in Mexico City in 2012
At the time, El Chapo was on the run after breaking out of prison in 2001
He was considered one of the most dangerous criminals in the world and the most wanted man in Mexico
El Chapo’s followers and even his wife have labeled the former president corrupt
On Monday Cifuentes told the court that Guzman ordered him to kill the cartel’s communications expert, Christian Rodriguez, after learning that he was cooperating with the FBI
Cifuentes was unable to track down Rodriguez, who now lives in the United States and testified at the trial last week, because he did not know the target’s last name
Alex Cifuentes [seen left behind the drug kingpin], told his trial on Tuesday that he gave former Enrique Pena Nieto a $100million bribe in Mexico City in 2012 when his boss was on the run
In a bombshell testimony a trusted aide to Mexican drug lord Joaquin El Chapo Guzman told the federal court in Manhattan gave former Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto a $100million bribe in 2012.
Alex Cifuentes the drug kingpin’s right hand man is one of several witnesses testifying against his former boss at a highly anticipated Brooklyn trial.
Under cross-examination from El Chapo’s defense attorneys, he admitted he had the bribe delivered to Nieto by an unnamed woman in Mexico City.
‘Mr. Guzmán paid a bribe of $100 million to President Peña Nieto?’ Jeffrey Lichtman, one of the drug dealer’s lawyers, asked.
Cifuentes replied ‘yes’ but later tried to backtrack, saying: ‘It wasn’t like that.’
At the time, Guzman was on the run after his first prison escape in 2001.
It was during the years between 2001 and 2014, when he was captured again, that he was able to grow his empire after establishing his base in the Sinaloa mountains.
Former Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto [photo], has vehemently denied accepting bribes from any cartel groups including the alleged $100million bribe he accepted in 2012 from El Chapo’s proxies
Joaquin El Chapo Guzman’s recapture in mexico, in 2014
The secretary, Andrea Velez, had been told to proposition the general, who was not named. – Cifuentes said Velez often provided girls from her modelling agency to entertain the general at parties and that their organization wanted to keep him on side.
She asked him if he would take money to lay off El Chapo’s case but, according to Cifuentes, he refused and told her he ‘hated’ her boss ‘very much’.
Her ‘failure’ angered Guzman. He was in disbelief and accused her of making it up.’ Branding her a liar, he ordered her killed,’ Cifuentes said.
However, she was never killed. Cifuentes did not specify when the order was made.
A day earlier, star witness, Alex Cifuentes, told the court he was a member of a Colombian drug-trafficking clan when he was sent in 2007 to live with Guzman and his associates at one of the kingpin’s hideaways in Mexico – complete with satellite TV and maid service – ‘for business reasons,’ he told jurors in federal court in Brooklyn.
Cifuentes testified last week that his organization ended up making $40 million a month by supplying stockpiles of cocaine that the Sinaloa cartel smuggled into the United States.
As the case against El Chapo’s continues, he has pled not guilty to a 17-count indictment, including firearms possession, murder conspiracy, and importation and distribution of cocaine.
Testimony by Cifuentes has been challenged by lawyers for Guzman, who countered the witness is one of several cooperators who are framing their client in hopes of getting leniency in their own cases.
Joaquin El Chapo Guzman’s arrival after he was extradited to US in 2017
There also was testimony about Christian Rodriguez, a computer tech hired by the cartel to set up a secure communications system installed with spyware that allowed Guzman to covertly track his associates and love interests.
The kingpin ‘was really interested in what people were saying about him,’ Cifuentes said. ‘If it wasn’t pertaining to him, then he really didn’t care.’
During another conversation, Guzman informed Cifuentes that Rodriguez had given information to authorities about Cifuentes’ drug dealer brother.
Guzman said ‘that we should look for him to kill him,’ Cifuentes testified. His response: ‘I started looking for him.’
In an intercepted phone call to his mother about his brother, Cifuentes asked her to ‘send him my regards and tell him that Christian was the one who blew the whistle.’
The hit never executed and Rodriguez ended up helping the FBI collect scores of incriminating business and private text messages which have become the centerpiece of the prosecution.