Sinaloa Cartel Boss El Chapo, Mexico's Ex-Security Chief Among Group Charged in Gun Trafficking Case
Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, a former security minister in Mexico, and five other individuals have been charged in the "Fast and Furious" gun trafficking scandal.
Apart from El Chapo and ex-security minister Genaro Garcia Luna, New York Post reported that former federal police intelligence official Luis Cardenas Palomino was also among those who were hit with weapons trafficking charges.
According to Associated Press, the names of the four other individuals, who were also linked to the so-called "Fast and Furious" gun-running scandal, were not included in the Sunday statement of Mexico's Attorney General's Office.
El Chapo and Garcia Luna are already in the custody of the United States, while Palomino is behind bars in Mexico.
Under the secret "Fast and Furious" scheme that ran from 2009 to 2011, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives permitted criminals to buy guns in the U.S. and take them to Mexico.
The agency intended to track these weapons to lead them to Mexican drug cartels. According to reports, more than 2,000 weapons were tracked crossing the U.S.-Mexican border, and many fell in the hands of Mexican drug cartel members.
However, the agency also lost many guns, including two found at the scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry's killing in southern Arizona in December 2010.
Some of the weapons were also blamed for gangland slayings in Mexico. The bungled "Fast and Furious" operation was exposed following the murder of Terry.
Garcia Luna, who served as security chief and led the Mexican government's fight against organized crime in President Felipe Calderon's 2006-2012 administration, was arrested in Texas in 2019. He currently faces trial in the U.S. for allegedly protecting a drug gang.
Palomino, who was considered the right-hand man of Garcia Luna, was arrested in Mexico in July on charges of torture. He was separately accused by U.S. prosecutors of accepting millions in bribes from the Sinaloa cartel.
Imprisonment of Sinaloa Cartel Boss El Chapo
El Chapo was arrested in Guatemala and extradited to Mexico in 1993. He was sentenced to more than 20 years in prison.
In 2001, El Chapo escaped from prison and was apprehended again in 2014 in Sinaloa, Mexico. He again escaped from prison through a tunnel the following year.
In January 2016, Mexican officials announced that El Chapo had been captured again. He was extradited to the U.S. the following year.
El Chapo was sentenced to spend the rest of his days in the ADX Florence "supermax" prison after being sentenced to life imprisonment in 2019.
Last October, El Chapo's defense attorney Marc Fernich urged a U.S. appeals court to overturn the ex-Sinaloa cartel leader's conviction, citing jury bias and the conditions at the "supermax" facility, which he called "a modern dungeon."
However, Circuit Judge Gerard E. Lynch challenged Fernich's characterization that the El Chapo was thrown into a "modern dungeon." Lynch noted that El Chapo's lawyers had constant access to him leading up to the trial so "he's not isolated from the world," and sees "people on a regular basis."
The panel of judges for the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York will hand down their decision in a court filing, but it was still unclear when a ruling would be made.
The Sinaloa Cartel
The Sinaloa Cartel is considered to be one of the most powerful drug-trafficking syndicates in the world. The Mexican drug cartel has been known to carry out assassinations, murders, and torture to protect its turf.
The group was founded in the late 1980s and headed by El Chapo. Under El Chapo's leadership, the Sinaloa cartel earned its reputation through violence and outfought several rival groups.
Officials said the Sinaloa Cartel became the biggest supplier of illegal drugs to the U.S. during El Chapo's reign. Its revenue from drug sales ranged from $3 billion to $39 billion annually. El Chapo was once ranked as one of the world's richest men.
This article is owned by Latin Post.
Written by: Joshua Summers
WATCH: How Do Cartels Get Their Weapons? - From National Geographic
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