El Chapo ratted on rival drug cartels to FBI and DEA to gain power and finish competition, claims journalist
The 63-year-old druglord currently serving a life sentence at ADX Florence, the nation's most secure supermax prison
Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera, better known as 'El Chapo', provided information about his rival gangs to US law enforcement in a bid to eliminate competition, a journalist who investigated the drug lord and his cartel has claimed.
Guzmán, who is currently serving a life sentence in prison, was formerly the leader of the Sinaloa cartel and considered, at one point, to have been the most powerful drug trafficker in the world. His operations involving the mass production and distribution of drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, and heroin had earned him billions, with Forbes ranking him as one of the most powerful people in the world between 2008 and 2013 and the DEA estimating he matched the influence and wealth of Pablo Escobar.
Anabel Hernández, a Mexican investigative journalist who has covered some of the country's most notorious drug gangs and cartels, told La Octava in an interview that Guzmán consolidated his position at the top by working in tandem with US law enforcement organizations.
She said Guzmán and Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, his successor as the head of the Sinaloa cartel, met with officials from the FBI and DEA on several occasions to feed them information about his rivals. "They had meetings with the DEA and they gave them information about their enemies," she claimed. "The fewer competitors they had, the more they grew."
Asked about her source, Hernández said she had been told about the meetings by Vincente "El Vincentillo" Zambada's son. Zambada was another high-ranking member of the Sinaloa cartel who is currently serving a 15-year jail term in the U.S. on drug trafficking charges.
She revealed that the tactic of sharing information with law enforcement wasn't restricted to just the Sinaloa cartel. She said that it was a widespread practice that was also used by the likes of the now-disbanded Beltran Levya cartel, which had been formed by five brothers who had grown disillusioned with the Sinaloa cartel.
She shared that US officials had meetings with Edgar Valdez Villarreal, also known as "La Barbie", who was arrested by Mexican Federal Police in 2010 and is now serving a 49-year sentence at USP Coleman II, a high-security prison in Florida.
"The DEA had the whole puzzle figured out," she explained. "They were controlling the threads in one way or another and influencing the criminal game of drug cartels."
Guzmán had escaped from prison twice before he was recaptured on January 8, 2016, and extradited to the US, where his charges included drug trafficking with intent to distribute, conspiracy association, organized crime against health, money laundering, homicide, illegal possession of firearms, kidnapping, and murder.
Following a lengthy trial, he was found guilty on all counts on February 12, 2019, and subsequently sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years. He was also ordered to forfeit more than $12.6 billion which he had promised to distribute to Mexico's indigenous people.
He is serving his sentence at ADX Florence, the nation's most secure supermax prison where inmates spend 23 hours per day locked in their cells.