Wednesday, January 16, 2019

NY DAILY NEWS: Witness at El Chapo's trial testifies about bribe payment to DEA agent

Witness at El Chapo trial testifies about bribe payment to DEA agent made on behalf of Colombian cartel group

Artwork by Elizabeth Williams 
Alex Cifuentes tesifies via interpreter
( click on an image to see larger)
El Chapo’s former secretary testified Wednesday about bribe payments made to a DEA agent on behalf of members of a Colombian cartel group.
During his fourth morning on the stand, Alex Cifuentes, 50, told the court under cross-examination that his brother Francisco Ivan (Pacho) Cifuentes Villa authorized a payment to an agent with the DEA. The payout was given to the U.S. law enforcement officer inside a “cell phone box” at a restaurant located near an airport in Colombia, Cifuentes testified.

El Chapo defense table


“There were some dollars in there,” Cifuentes said of the package, adding that he was unsure of whether the money was intended as a gift or a bribe.
The agent was not named during the testimony, nor the date or exact location of where the alleged bribe took place.Pacho Cifuentes led the notorious Cifuentes-Villa drug trafficking cartel until his assassination in 2007. Jurors heard earlier in the trial about his early beginnings in the trade working as a pilot for Pablo Escobar. The revelation came out during questioning about statements the witness gave during debriefings following his extradition to the U.S. in 2016.
Emma Coronel Aispuro seated in court

Cifuentes also spoke of bribe payments paid to a Colombian general identified as Naranjo — made by members of his drug-trafficking family and not El Chapo — and members of the Colombian air force.

On Tuesday, the turncoat prompted international headlines after testifying about a $100-million bribe payment El Chapo, whose real name is Joaquín Guzmán Loera, allegedly made to the former president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, in October 2012.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan questioned the validity of the witness’s bombshell claims and suggested prosecutors may not have brought them up under direct examination as they simply don’t believe them.

“Or maybe they’re desperately trying to protect the Mexican government,” defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman responded.



Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Artwork by Bill Robles of 'Miracle on the Hudson'. Pilot, crew, passengers mark 10th anniversary of extraordinary landing

Bill Robles illustration of a non court scene,
the rescue of US Airways flight 1549 on the Hudson River 10 years ago.
This illustration was shown at the  The New York City Police Museum in a show titled
Police in our Community.
The show highlighted the different divisions of the NYPD and how they interact with the community.
Several  NYPD divisions were involved in the rescue from Aviation to Harbor  to ESU/Scuba and more.
In the icy January waters the NYPD safely rescued all the passengers
with assistance from various ferry services including NY Waterways.


Thursday, January 3, 2019

AP: El Chapo jury hears testimony from cartel cohort

El Chapo jury hears testimony from cartel cohort: A former Mexican drug trafficker who once claimed he was an informant for the DEA is testifying at the U.S. trial of the notorious kingpin known as El Chapo
Vincente Zambada testifies in court via  translator (seated left). US Marshal is seated behind him. 
Artist: Elizabeth Williams 

Vicente Zambada became the latest in a parade of cooperators to testify as government witnesses in the conspiracy case against Guzman in federal court in Brooklyn. Like the others, he described the rampant violence and greed that accompanied Guzman’s rise to power atop the Sinaloa cartel.

El Chapo  flanked by his defense team,  listens to Vincente Zambada during his testimony. 
( Click on image to see larger )
El 
                                                                                   

Lawyers for Guzman – who was sent to the United States in 2017 after gaining notoriety for twice escaping Mexican jails – have sought to portray the cooperators as shady opportunists willing to exaggerate their client’s involvement in the drug trade to earn breaks in their own cases.

Zambada, 43, is the son of Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, another cartel boss who’s still at large. His uncle, former cartel member Jesus Zambada, has also testified at Guzman’s trial.
Vicente Zambada told the jury Thursday about a meeting in the early 1990s where a rival drug gang leader told him he wanted to kill his father and Guzman to avenge a botched hit. At another meeting in the mid-2000s, representatives from corrupt Mexican politicians asked if the cartel could help them ship 100 tons of cocaine in an oil tanker ship, he said.
“They wanted to know if my dad and Chapo could provide that amount of coke,” he said.
“They wanted to know if my dad and Chapo could provide that amount of coke,” he said. said he was arrested before he learned whether the shipment ever occurred.
After Zambada was extradicted to the U.S., his lawyers claimed he had been working for the DEA as a confidential informant even as he was smuggling cocaine. In exchange for inside information on the cartel, he had been promised immunity from prosecution, they said.
Prosecutors denied Zambada’s allegation that there was an immunity deal that was “approved at the highest levels of government.” He later pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate.
Zambada was to retake the witness stand Friday. The trail, which began in mid-November, is expected to continue into next month.