El Chapo’s Trial Post/Updates

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Re: El Chapo’s Trial Post/Updates

Mica
-Christian Rodriguez, the IT guy who helped the US take down El Chapo, just finished his direct testimony.

-Rodriguez said working for a narco-lord, especially one as paranoid as Chapo, could be a little weird.

-Chapo, for instance, came to him one-day with the assignment to intercept every message being sent from every internet cafe in Culiacan. Rodriguez tried but failed.

-Rodriguez gave a detailed description of how he helped the FBI locate Chapo by providing real-time GPS info from his phones.

-He also automated a system to record all phone calls made by Chapo and his people.
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Re: El Chapo’s Trial Post/Updates

Mica
-The job could also be dangerous, he said.

-Not long after the internet cafe assignment, the Army raided Chapo's mountain-top hideout while Rodriguez was up there with the boss.

-The IT guy had to go on the lam with the narcos, walking for three days through the mountains.
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Re: El Chapo’s Trial Post/Updates

Mica
-Christian described how Chapo wanted "interception equipment" to eavesdrop on all calls and text messages sent in Sinaloa, paid $1 million to buy the devices from a supplier in the Netherlands.

-He also tried to install spyware at "every internet cafe in Culiacan."
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Re: El Chapo’s Trial Post/Updates

Mica
-The gunmen, Rodriguez said, were carrying "large weapons" and "very large weapons."

-After three nights, they were finally able to return to the city.

-Rodriguez said Chapo "was always very calm, very sure, very tranquil."

-Rodriguez on how he felt, "Very badly,"
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Re: El Chapo’s Trial Post/Updates

Mica
-In Feb. 2011, the FBI approached Rodriguez and recruited him to be an informant.

-He agreed to "give the government access to all of Chapo's communications." FBI paid him $480K for his work and expenses.

-He got another $500K from Chapo, which he was allowed to keep.
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Re: El Chapo’s Trial Post/Updates

Mica
-Rodriguez altered Chapo's encrypted communication system so that "all calls recorded during the day were copied automatically" to a server.

-FBI was given admin access to this server. Rodriguez also personally listened to calls and sent ones with  Chapo's voice to the FBI.
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Re: El Chapo’s Trial Post/Updates

Mica
-And the blows to continue in Chapo’s trial, with day 2 of Christian Rodriguez’s testimony.

-He recounts meeting with El Chapo, El Mayo and Alex Cifuentes to tell them that their communications system wasn’t secure.

-Not to worry, he told them: He'd get them something better.
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Re: El Chapo’s Trial Post/Updates

Mica
-With a new and improved communications system, El Chapo decided to reassess the people in his inner-circle, knocking out about half of the people who he’d formerly corresponded with through the less secure system.

-Christian Rodriguez said that he chose Canada for the location of the communications servers because the country’s privacy laws are more stringent and the government there would have a harder time legally infiltrating it.

-With Christian Rodriguez as his I.T. guy, Chapo started to dream big: “He wanted to have the possibility of intercepting every single internet cafe in Culiacán,” Christain recalled.

-Christian said this could be done with a USB plug-in (it was never accomplished).
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Re: El Chapo’s Trial Post/Updates

Mica
-The cartel eventually figured out Rodriguez was a snitch.

-Rodriguez heard his Colombian employers say on one call that "it had been confirmed 100%"that he was cooperating with the US authorities.

-After that, Rodriguez fled to the US.
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Re: El Chapo’s Trial Post/Updates

Mica
-The stress got to Rodriguez.

-He said he had a "nervous breakdown" and had to undergo "electroconvulsive therapy," which affected his short-term memory.

-He's still taking medication and getting therapy but says it hasn't impacted his ability to recall his work for Chapo.

-In 2012, the FBI asked Rodriguez to travel to Mexico so he could monitor Chapo's phone activity "in real time" and help orchestrate his capture.

-That's what led to the raid in Los Cabos where Chapo narrowly escaped.

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Re: El Chapo’s Trial Post/Updates

Mica
-At a meeting in the sierra, where the licenciado, el Mayo and El Chapo were, Rodríguez showed them a Dutch system that intercepted calls and messages. El Chapo deposited $ 1 million USD to buy it.

-But in the end they did not use it.

-Later, El Chapo asked Rodriguez to solve another concern: "I wanted to have the possibility of intercepting all the internet cafes in Culiacán." But it was more complicated than expected since some antivirus software detected when installing via USB.

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Re: El Chapo’s Trial Post/Updates

Mica
-They stayed in mountain houses where they slept a couple of nights and ate, to keep walking.

-"Chapo was always very calm, very calm, very safe, I felt very bad."

-On the third day, they arrived at a house where vehicles spilled them to return them to the cd
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Re: El Chapo’s Trial Post/Updates

Mica
-They escaped to the army and Christian Rodriguez never returned.

-It was the last time he saw Chapo until yesterday when they were reunited in the federal courtroom.

-In 2011 the FBI honored him in Bogotá.

-He began to cooperate recording Chapo calls, GPS location and text messages.

-He sent them to the FBI by email. He received $ 480K USD for his cooperation, work permit in the US and they let him keep the Chapo payment (~ $ 500K USD)

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Re: El Chapo’s Trial Post/Updates

Mica
-He went to the US, after he heard Alex Cifuentes tell his mother that he was almost 100% sure that Rodriguez was cooperating with the FBI.

-In the USA he helped with the capture of Jorge Cifuentes.

-He suffered nervous breakdowns, has been hospitalized twice and received electroconvulsive therapy.
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Re: El Chapo’s Trial Post/Updates

Mica
-In person, Rodriguez was cool and calm during his testimony.

-He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and black skinny tie, matter-of-factly describing his extraordinary cooperation that delivered Chapo to US authorities.

-Cross-examination is set to begin.
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Re: El Chapo’s Trial Post/Updates

Mica
-Chapo didn’t bother carrying his own cell phones around … he had a communications secretary for that.

-Once Christian Rodriguez began cooperating with the FBI, he labeled calls with Chapo’s voice in the file name as: “---C---.” Then he’d email the calls over.

-But then: “I heard a call between Alex Cifuentes and his mom in which he said I was cooperating with the U.S., and it had been confirmed 100 percent,” Christian Rodriguez told the jury.

-Frightened, he moved to the United States.

-And safely stateside, Christian Rodriguez would go on to help the FBI catch Alex Cifuentes: “I simply installed GPS software on his phone without his knowledge,” he said, adding that he did this remotely.

-All the stress of his cooperation strained Christian Rodriguez who said he had a nervous breakdown in 2013 and went in for electroshock therapy.

-His memory of events with Chapo, Mayo Alex Cifuentes and company appear undamaged.




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Re: El Chapo’s Trial Post/Updates

Mica
-Rodriguez put "some distance" between himself and Chapo's organization, training two guys Charly & El Gordo.  

-They would run Chapo's communications on a daily basis.

-Remarkably, the entire time he worked for the crime lord he only made about $500,000, he said.

-It wasn't long after that the FBI came knocking on his door.

-Two agents, he said, approached him one day in Bogota, told him they knew he worked for Chapo Guzman and said he was "in serious trouble."

-He agreed to cooperate and help the feds crack into Chapo's communications by the end of the day.

-At first, he went into the servers himself and downloaded the calls that Chapo made emailing them to the FBI.

-Later, he said, he installed recording software in the server that automatically sent copies of all of the calls to a separate server every day at midnight.

-He also gave the FBI the usernames & passwords of all the FlexiSPY accounts that Chapo had installed on various phones.

-Then one day he heard a call between Dolly Cifuentes and her brother Alex saying they had figured out he was cooperating with the FBI.

-The feds pulled him out and brought him to the US where he turned his attention to capturing Dolly and Alex's other brother Jorge.

-Rodriguez had set up a similar server for the Cifuentes' and devised a way to remotely install a GPS location tracker on Jorge's phone without him knowing.

-Resulting in Jorge being captured.
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Re: El Chapo’s Trial Post/Updates

Mica
-There’s not much for the defense to say about Christian Rodriguez.

-He set up the communications systems for Chapo and the Cifuentes family not to mention Chapo’s spyware system then he turned around and used such technology against them. And the evidence is hard to ignore.

-BALAREZO: You know how to use computers for good, you know how to use computers for bad, correct?”

-BALAREZO: “For whatever reason, you’ve decided to use your very good computer skills for bad.”

-The defense alleged that with Christian Rodriguez’s expertise, he could manipulate telephone calls, text messages, video and sound.

-Christian agreed that he can, in fact do all of this.

-BALAREZO alleged Chapo couldn’t have poured over spy reports and stated that he only has a second grade education.

-BALAREZO: “and in fact he has a fair amount of difficulty writing,” his defense attorney said. (Judging from Chapo’s text messages: his spelling and punctuation do beg improvement.)

-BALAREZO alleges that Rodriguez hacked into the U.S.’s energy system grid “simply for pleasure.” (Christian denied the allegation.)

-The defense alleged that upon learning that Christian Rodriguez was working with the FBI, Dolly Cifuentes met with him and showed him pictures of his family. She asked if he was in or not.

-Christian had no such recollection of any such exchange.
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Re: El Chapo’s Trial Post/Updates

Mica
-Balarezo has focused on some technical aspects of the encrypted comms network he set up for Chapo. He called Rodriguez a "techie" and referred to parts of the network as "doodads."

-Not much for the defense to work with on this one.

-Balarezo referenced a statement Rodriguez made to FBI agents in 2009 about his early hacking endeavors: "One of the things you did was break into the US energy system, the grid, for fun." Rodriguez claimed he didn't recall ever saying that.

-Balarezo also suggested that Chapo couldn't have been reading reports about spyware activity on the phones of his wife and mistresses because "he's not an educated man" and "he has a fair amount of difficulty writing."

-Balarezo also asked Rodriguez about his work for the Cifuentes family. He revealed that Dolly Cifuentes, sister of Jorge and Alex, had threatened Rodriguez by showing him pictures of his family.
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Re: El Chapo’s Trial Post/Updates

Mica
-The prosecution said they expect to rest their argument, giving the floor over to the defense later this month.

-Chapo’s team requested a witness in government custody, and that person could be in court as soon as Jan. 23.

-Chapo’s team had originally requested three such witnesses to testify, but today they reduced that request down to a single witness in the government’s custody.
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