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Mexico AG: Unhappy with Zambada-Niebla Deal, No Plan to Extradite El Chapo

Murillo Karam, Attorney General for Mexico, gave an interview today to Radio Fórmula during which he expressed displeasure with DOJ's recent plea deal with Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, son of Sinaloa co-leader Ismael Zambada-Garcia. (The details of Zambada-Niebla's plea agreement are here.)

He also said Mexico presently has no intention of extraditing Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to the U.S. ("no tenemos ninguna intensión de mandarlo a Estados Unidos.") He added that Mexico still hasn't received a formal extradition request for Chapo's extradition. [More...]

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Zambada-Niebla's Plea Agreement

The Government today released the plea agreement of Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, son of Sinaloa cartel leader Ismael Zambada-Garcia, in his Illinois case. The agreement was signed a year ago. The press release is here.

The plea agreement is here. He's cooperating, so what would otherwise be a life sentence will be less than that. He's also agreeing to a forfeiture of more than $1 billion.

His guidelines are so high -- offense level 51 (the sentencing table only goes up to level 43) -- that even with a Criminal History Category of I (meaning no significant priors), his guidelines are life in prison (not even 30 to life, or any range at all - just life.)

Since he's been cooperating and will continue to cooperate as requested, the Government anticipates moving for a reduction to a lesser sentence. It also sounds like he's in or will be in the witness protection program, since the agreement says the Government will recommend he and his family be allowed to stay in the U.S. at the end of his sentence. [More...]

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Sloppy Reporting Torpedoes Vasquez-Hernandez Plea

On Feb. 26, Alfredo Vasquez-Hernandez announced in court he would plead guilty without a plea agreement in the Chicago case in which Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and Jesus Vicente Zambada-Garcia are co-defendants. In court yesterday, his lawyer announced he had changed his mind and wants to go to trial in May after all.

Why? A local ABC News affiliate reporter named Chuck Goudie had erroneously reported on TV that Vasquez-Hernandez had turned against Chapo. The inmates at the jail saw it and word spread to Mexico, where VH's wife and children live. Vasquez Herandez would rather go to trial than potentially put their lives in jeopardy.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Shakeshaft called Goudie’s error, “an unfortunate piece of journalism.”

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The DEA and Mexican Drug Cartels: The "Snitch and Carry On" Tactic

The New York Times has a fairly uninformative article in which it refers to the DEA "infiltrating" Mexican drug cartels and using some of them as informants. It mentions the current case involving the Iranian accused of an assassination plot against the Saudi Ambassador and the Chicago federal case of Jesús Vicente Zambada-Niebla, son of Sinaloa co-leader Ismael Zambada-Niebla.

The Zambada-Niebla case is far more interesting. The gist is that Vicente says he was part of an immunity deal that encompassed not only Mexican lawyer/fugitive/indicted defendant Humberto Loya-Castro (Loya), who is an advisor to Chapo Guzman and Ismael Zambada-Niebla, and a participant in Sinaloa activity, but that all of them also had permission to carry on the cartel's drug trafficking activity. He also alleges that the DEA provided the same immunity from capture and prosecution, and permission to carry on Sinaloa business to Chapo Guzman and Ismael Zambada-Niebla, the two leaders of Sinaloa. [More...]

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