- As a witness, he revealed drug trafficking methods commonly used by the Sinaloa Cartel, which included using trains, tractors, and other types of vehicles.
- Another notable associate who testified against Guzman during his trial is Jesus Zambada.
- Even after El Chapo’s incarceration, the Sinaloa Cartel is still one of the most profitable drug trafficking organizations in the world.
A former drug smuggler who testified against drug lord Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán during his widely publicized trial has been sentenced to seven years in prison by a court in Brooklyn, New York. Tirso Martínez-Sánchez, 52, was arrested in Mexico in 2014 and extradited to the United States in 2015.
He pleaded guilty to the charges and now has only three years left to fulfill his sentence. This is after serving four in a U.S. prison. Martínez-Sánchez was facing ten years to life imprisonment for the crime. His collaboration with U.S. authorities helped him avoid a harsh sentence for heading a drug distribution network. His unit was able to smuggle over 30 tons of cocaine into the United States from Mexico.
As a witness, he revealed drug trafficking methods commonly used by the Sinaloa Cartel, which included using trains, tractors, and other types of vehicles. Nicknamed El Futbolista for his love of football, Martínez-Sánchez oversaw some of the most lucrative drug trafficking routes into the United States. According to his revelation, narcos sometimes packaged drugs into jalapeno pepper cans. Oil tankers with secret compartments were also used to get the drugs across the border.
The transport containers would be filled with oil and covered with grease to prevent the authorities from doing a thorough search, and throw off the K9s. Each train cargo that went through would apparently yield up to $800 million in sales once it reached distribution hubs in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago. As a high profile witness he is likely to enter the Federal Witness Security Program after his release to save his life.
Other El Chapo Snitches at His Trial
Another notable associate who testified against Guzman during his trial is Jesus Zambada. He is a former chief of operations for the Sinaloa Cartel and brother to Ismael ‘El Mayo’ Zambada, a primary cartel kingpin. According to his disclosure, he spent $300,000 a month in bribes to military and senior officials in the government between 2000 and 2006, both at the state and federal level. The payments were made to allow the passage of drug shipments, and gain protection from the authorities.
Vicente Zambada Niebla, El Mayo’s son also testified against El Chapo during his trial. Niebla was arrested in 2009 in Mexico City and extradited to the United States in 2010. Like Martínez-Sánchez, he reportedly chose to cooperate with the authorities to get a reduced sentence.
The Sinaloa Cartel Still Powerful after Guzman’s Incarceration
Even after El Chapo’s incarceration, the Sinaloa Cartel is still one of the most profitable drug trafficking organizations in the world. It operates using a federation type of structure with each boss controlling a zone of influence.
In the past 10 years, the United States has issued tens of indictments against members of the criminal organization. The syndicate is currently headed by Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, Rafael Caro Quintero, and the sons of El Chapo Guzman.