Small Wars Journal

El Chapo Trial Provides a Deep Look Inside the Sinaloa Cartel’s Drug Empire

El Chapo Trial Provides a Deep Look Inside the Sinaloa Cartel’s Drug Empire by Edith Honan, Mark Berman and Katie Zezima – Washington Post

Two months of testimony in a federal courtroom here have offered an unprecedented glimpse into the inner workings of the Sinaloa drug cartel, complete with tales of gruesome murders, diamond-encrusted pistols, caches of cocaine smuggled in cans of peppers and, at the center of it all, a defendant who twice escaped from prison.


The trial of notorious drug lord Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera — known as “El Chapo” — has shown in meticulous detail how the cartel smuggles drugs from Mexico into the United States, where it has fueled a deadly nationwide drug crisis. The flow of the cartel’s drugs, the prosecution said, relied on underground tunnels and hidden compartments in vehicles — methods that would not have been thwarted by any border wall.


The billions of dollars’ worth of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines and marijuana came through elaborate tunnels, including one built under the U.S.-Mexico border that originated below a pool table at an estate, Guzmán’s associates said. Drugs were hidden in trucks and trains, amid gallons of cooking oil and concealed in small cans of hot peppers, rolling through official entry points. Some came into the United States via container ships docking at Pacific ports. All of it was destined for sale in cities and towns across America.


One of the cartel’s stash houses, prosecutors said, had a view of the Brooklyn Bridge. Because the cartel’s drugs flowed across the United States, federal prosecutors were able to charge Guzmán in several places and chose to bring him to trial in Brooklyn…

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