by WorldTribune Staff, January 27, 2017
While a bitter dispute simmers over how Donald Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall will be funded, court documents in the 17-count U.S. indictment against Joaquin Guzman reveal “El Chapo” as a larger-than-life figure with assets that could fund the multi-billion dollar project.
The brutal druglord carried a gold-plated AK-47, maintained a “murder house” in Mexico and paid $1 million in bribes to ensure the safety of a single drug shipment.
His extradition to the United States – hours before Trump’s inauguration – has raised questions for which there have been no answers.
“The court documents sought to debunk the Robin Hood-type image Guzman enjoys in parts of Mexico but they conveyed some of the folklore surrounding the diminutive cartel boss, citing 11 pseudonyms, including Chapo (Shorty), el Jefe (the Boss), el Senor (the Lord) and el Rapido (the Fast One),” the UK’s Guardian reported.
Along with the gold plated AK-47, El Chapo also packed a gold and diamond-encrusted .45 mm handgun and employed “sicarios,” or “assassins,” who “carried out thousands of acts of violence, including murders, assaults, kidnappings, torture and assassination at his direction, to promote and enhance his prestige, reputation and position,” according to court documents.
Guzman could face the rest of his life in a U.S. prison and have $14 billion of his drug-trafficking profits seized by American authorities, U.S. prosecutors said on Jan. 20, a day after the cartel kingpin was extradited from Mexico to stand trial in New York.
During a brief hearing at the Brooklyn federal court, Guzman pleaded not guilty to charges that he lead a vast and murderous criminal operation that distributed 200 tons of cocaine for sale on American streets.
One witness is due to testify about a murder house in Ciudad Juarez. “The house had plastic sheets over the walls to catch spouting blood and a drain in the floor to facilitate the draining of blood.”
The court documents said that “a cornerstone of his strategy was the corruption of officials at every level of local, municipal, state, national and foreign government, who were paid cash bribes to ensure that he and the Sinaloa Cartel were free to bring in tonnage quantities of cocaine from South America and move it freely to the United States.”
“Driven by insatiable power and greed, Guzman’s personal history and characteristics demand detention to prevent him from being a danger to the community,” said a 56-page document which accompanied the indictments.
“Guzman’s violent, international and multi-billion-dollar drug trafficking empire continues to pump thousands of kilograms of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana into the United States for distribution in our communities.”