NEW HAMPSHIRE - Mexican drug lord Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán Loera, imprisoned leader of one of the most powerful criminal empires, met with a confidential FBI informant in 2010, according to a federal prosecutor at the drug trial of a member of Mexico’s ruling PRI party in U.S. District Court in New Hampshire.
According to trial documents, Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Feith said on October 6 that during the meeting, “which took place in the mountains of Mexico, the CHS (confidential human source) was introduced to Guzmán Loera” by defendant Jesús Manuel Gutiérrez Guzmán, El Chapo’s business representative for the U.S. Feith added that the meeting, which took place in April 2010, was not recorded and only involved the informant.
Up until his arrest in February in Mexico, El Chapo Guzmán hid from the law in the remote mountains of Sinaloa, his home state on Mexico’s Pacific coast. As head of the Sinaloa Cartel, an international criminal organization with billions of dollars in revenues, El Chapo was the #1 supplier to the U.S. of marijuana, cocaine, heroine and methamphetamines. Despite Guzmán’s arrest, the cartel remains fully operational.
In 2011, El Chapo Guzmán, Gutiérrez Guzmán (El Chapo’s cousin), Samuel Zazueta Valenzuela, Jesús Gonzalo Palazuela Soto and Rafael Celaya Valenzuela, were indicted on one count of conspiracy to distribute drugs in New Hampshire. All but El Chapo were arrested in Spain in August 2012 after FBI agents intercepted a shipment of 346 kilograms of cocaine from Brazil. Gutiérrez, Zazueta and Gonzalez pleaded guilty, but Celaya, who identified himself as the cartel’s “attorney and financial planner,” decided to stand trial.
Celaya stands out from the group for his ties to the PRI, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s party. According to Mexican media, at the time of his arrest, Celaya was an active member of the PRI in the northern border state of Sonora. He ran for federal congressman but lost. During Peña Nieto’s 2012 presidential campaign, Celaya posted on Facebook pictures of himself with Peña Nieto and two other prominent PRI senators which were published in the Mexican media. While not denying ties to Celaya, the PRI clarified that during the presidential campaign Peña Nieto posed for thousands of photos with many PRI members, but that it “doesn’t imply closeness or commitment.”
On Wednesday, Celaya was convicted of conspiracy to distribute more than 2,200 pounds of cocaine, plus heroin and methamphetamines by a federal jury in New Hampshire.
Forbes/Oct. 16, 2014
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FBI Informant Partied With Drug Lord Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán Loera Before His Arrest