Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán paid a $ 100 million bribe to former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto , a Colombian drug dealer said on Tuesday when he testified at the Guzman trial in Brooklyn.
The money was sent by a woman known as Comadre María in Mexico City in October 2012, she said. At that time Peña Nieto was president-elect.
The Colombian Alex Cifuentes testified that in 2016 he explained to US government officials more than once that payment occurred. He said Guzman was the one who explained it to him. However, at another interrogation session in 2018, Cifuentes said he was not clear about what the figures had been.
A spokesperson for Peña Nieto, who left office at the end of 2018, has said in the past that the subject of bribes is false. Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, coordinator of the PRI caucus in the Senate and former secretary of government during Peña Nieto’s term, said the same thing to a radio station on Tuesday afternoon, in addition to questioning whether the words of delinquents
Cifuentes also said that Guzmán explained that Peña Nieto had contacted the Mexican drug trafficker. Guzman’s lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman , asked him if the message sent by the president-elect to Guzmán was that he did not need to hide anymore.
“Yes,” said Cifuentes. “That’s what Joaquín told me.” Lichtman then asked him if what the Mexican government wanted was money from “El Chapo”. “Work with him, yes,” answered Cifuentes.
“When you say work, does it mean that Guzmán pays and Enrique Peña Nieto allows you to continue working?” Asked Lichtman. “I guess so,” said Cifuentes.
Lichtman later explained that Cifuentes even told the US government that Peña Nieto had actually requested $ 250 million from Guzmán but that “El Chapo” offered 100. “That’s right, but maybe I’m confused with the numbers,” Cifuentes answered.
During the exchange, US prosecutors objected often and Judge Brian Cogan accepted some objections and denied others. Peña Nieto was president of Mexico from 2012 until last year, so he witnessed the capture of Guzmán in 2016 and his extradition to the United States in 2017.
On the other hand, Lichtman mentioned the employee of the Sinaloa cartel, Andrea Vélez, and said that it also worked for JJ Rendón, a political consultant who worked on Peña Nieto’s electoral campaign. Cifuentes said Velez sent him pictures of suitcases full of money in Mexico City.
In other explosive statements Tuesday, Cifuentes said Guzman paid the Mexican army twice or three times between 10 and 12 million dollars to kill members of the rival cartel of the Beltrán Leyva. He also explained that he himself worked with the Mexican federal police, with permission from Guzmán, to import cocaine from Argentina to Mexico. Cifuentes explained that the Mexican police officers themselves collected their bags full of drugs at the airport because they had the flight number and photos of that luggage.
“El Chapo,” one of the best-known drug traffickers and former leader of the Sinaloa cartel, has pleaded not guilty to allegedly accumulating a multimillion-dollar fortune through the trafficking of tons of cocaine and other drugs from Mexico to the United States. If found guilty, he would face a possible life sentence. Guzmán faces 11 charges, which include drug trafficking, arms trafficking, money laundering and participation in a criminal enterprise.
Cifuentes, 50, was arrested in Mexico in 2013 and extradited to the United States in 2016. The Colombian lived with Guzmán in the Sinaloa mountain range from 2007 to 2009 and then in “El Chapo” houses in the mountains until his death. arrest in 2013
The Colombian witness was not clear on Tuesday when asked if the Beltran Leyva paid former president Felipe Calderón to protect them against the rival Sinaloa cartel. Cifuentes said he did not remember that.