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    U.S. - Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's trial in New York 
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    El Chapo: trial of Mexican cartel boss begins in New York
    Ed Vulliamy
    The Guardian
    November 14th, 2018

    The long-awaited trial of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has begun in New York, with prosecutors accusing him of heading up the world's most powerful drug cartel from 1989 to 2014, bringing cocaine into the United States at times worth up to $10m a day.

    But in his opening remarks on Tuesday, a lawyer for Guzman told the jury the prosecution had fallen for the "myth of El Chapo" to distract from a failed "war on drugs", and claimed that his client was a scapegoat for the real leader of the Sinaloa cartel.

    Defence attorney Jeffrey Lichtman alleged on behalf of his client that that Mexican officials -- including current and former presidents -- had received bribes to protect Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, another reputed trafficker who is still at large.

    A spokesman for outgoing president Enrique Pena Nieto called the allegation "false and defamatory", while his predecessor Felipe Calderon tweeted that the remarks were "absolutely false and reckless".

    Opening statements by both sides indicated that the trial will hinge on the testimony of former allies of Guzman, who have turned state's evidence. Each side promised a bitter battle over the veracity and credibility of such witnesses.
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    El Chapo trial: judge rebukes defense attorney over opening statement
    The Guardian
    November 14th, 2018

    A US judge has admonished the lawyer for drug smuggler Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman over his opening statement in which he accused two Mexican presidents of taking bribes.

    Federal prosecutors had asked US district judge Brian Cogan to throw out the defense’s opening statement at Guzman's New York trial, saying it was "permeated with improper argument, unnoticed affirmative defenses and inadmissible hearsay".

    Cogan stopped short of that on Wednesday, but admonished defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman for having gone "far afield of direct or circumstantial proof". He said he would instruct the jury to focus on the evidence.

    "Your opening statement handed out a promissory note that your case is not going to cash," the judge said, calling Lichtman's opening misleading.

    In his opening statement on Tuesday, Lichtman told jurors that US prosecutors had dreamed "for decades" of convicting Guzman, adding: "The world is focusing on this mythical El Chapo figure."
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    El Chapo trial: accountant exposes details of cartel's vast operations
    Ed Vulliamy
    The Guardian
    November 15th, 2018

    The inner workings -- and vast financial scale -- of what is alleged to be the world's biggest narco-trafficking organisation, the Sinaloa cartel, began to be laid bare on Wednesday by a former leader of the syndicate, Jesus Zambada Garcia, testifying against his own immediate boss, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, on trial in New York.

    Zambada, the cartel's chief accountant for more than 15 years, said his brother, Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, and Guzman were considered the top leaders of the Sinaloa cartel.

    Ismael Zambada, now presumed to be running the organisation, is said by many to be behind a betrayal of Guzman.

    The prosecution called Jesus Zambada Garcia as only its third witness, causing surprise that one of the crucial "snitch" witnesses who have turned state's evidence had appeared so soon; Zambada was arrested in 2008 on drug trafficking charges, extradited to the US and pleaded guilty.

    Direct examination began by establishing Zambada’s proximity to Guzman: he had organised helicopter transport for him soon after a jailbreak in 2001, "to escape from military forces because they were about to recapture him". He spoke to him by telephone on a number of occasions and was briefed on Guzman's management of the cartel by his brother, the court heard.
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    El Chapo trial: Sinaloa cartel bribed top police officials, ex-member testifies
    The Guardian
    November 15th, 2018

    A former Mexican cartel member who is testifying for the US government at the trial of notorious drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman detailed on Thursday how the Sinaloa cartel paid bribes, preferably in US dollars, to high-ranking police and other officials to protect its operation.

    Jesus Zambada, whose brother was once considered one of the cartel's leaders, said during his second day on the witness stand in Brooklyn that Guzman once directed him to give $100,000, along with a hug, to a general in the state of Guerrero.

    On Wednesday, Zambada had identified Guzman in the courtroom and told jurors he "was one of the most powerful drug traffickers in Mexico".

    The witness described how the cartel made massive profits by smuggling tons of cocaine into the United States.

    Zambada -- a 57-year-old trained accountant who was arrested in 2008 and is still in US custody -- was the first of several cooperators expected to give jurors an inside look at a cartel with a legendary lust for drugs, cash and violence.
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    I'm really hoping he escapes again, this time from american jail....and he gets back to doing what he does best.
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    Mexaxx should be pressing MDMX pills. They would be making mucho denaro.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LucidSDreamr View Post
    I'm really hoping he escapes again, this time from american jail....and he gets back to doing what he does best.
    Me too. But I'm not overly worried. Someone has already taken his place.
    Addicted? Want to stop? We can help! Come to the sober living forum!
    http://www.bluelight.org/vb/forums/269-Sober-Living
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    Quote Originally Posted by cj View Post
    Me too. But I'm not overly worried. Someone has already taken his place.
    Indeed. But he has accomplished so much I hope just for him that he gets out
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    El Chapo trial: cartel leader had private zoo and $10m beach house
    The Guardian
    November 27th, 2018

    Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was so rich, he had a private zoo where big cats roamed, he bought a $10m beach house and he traveled to Switzerland for an anti-ageing treatment.

    Guzman's excesses were detailed at his US trial on Tuesday by a former cartel crony-turned-government witness, Miguel Angel Martinez, who told jurors that a cocaine boom in the early 1990s fueled the lavish spending spree.

    "He had houses at every single beach," said Martinez, formerly a close friend and top assistant. "He had ranches in every single state."

    Martinez described how the Sinaloa cartel was smuggling tons of cocaine into the US -- through tunnels dug under the border, in tanker trucks with secret compartments, even in fake chili pepper cans. What came back in the other direction, he said, was tens of millions of dollars in cash.

    Much of it ended up in Tijuana, where Guzman would send his three private jets each month to pick it up, Mart?nez said. On average, each plane would carry up to $10m, he said.
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