U.S. knew Mexico tortured drug suspects in hunt for El Chapo: former DEA boss
U.S. knew Mexico tortured drug suspects in hunt for El Chapo: former DEA boss Chicago Sun Times
The Mexican military tortured suspects with the knowledge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration during the hunt for drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, according to a former DEA supervisor in Mexico.
Leonardo Silva — once the top DEA agent in Monterrey near the Texas border — is now working as an expert witness for Jesus Raul Beltran Leon, a reputed lieutenant of one of Guzman’s sons.
Silva has submitted an affidavit saying it’s “common knowledge” among DEA agents that the Mexican Navy — known as SEMAR — tortures its captives.
“Mr. Silva has seen it in person, although he left the area when it started,” Beltran Leon’s attorneys say.
Silva left the DEA in disgrace, pleading guilty in 2016 to a felony for making a false statement. He failed to report free flights he accepted for personal travel. He also falsely accused a Mexican woman of being a cocaine trafficker. As a result of that lie, which Silva did as a favor for a friend, the U.S. State Department revoked visas for her and her husband.
Beltran Leon’s lawyers acknowledged that he’s currently on probation, but they said that makes him a trustworthy witness.
Silva “has an enhanced incentive to be scrupulously honest with this court in all of his statements,” they wrote last month in a court filing to have the government hand over additional information about Beltran Leon’s arrest and U.S. involvement with the Mexican Navy, which captured him.
On Tuesday, Chief Judge Ruben Castillo denied that request.
But Castillo added: “Nothing in this opinion should be construed as indicating that this court in any way condones any alleged misconduct by either the Mexican or United States government in this case. Any such misconduct was a grave error and may be considered by this court at an appropriate stage in the proceedings.”
Beltran Leon was arrested in 2014 in Mexico. In 2017, he was extradited to Chicago, where he’s facing trial on drug-conspiracy charges.
He’s among dozens of defendants charged in a sweeping 2009 indictment against Guzman and his multibillion-dollar Sinaloa drug cartel. Guzman was captured in 2014, but famously escaped from prison and was recaptured in 2016. He was extradited to the United States a year later. He’s awaiting trial in New York.
Silva was in charge of the DEA’s office in Monterrey from 2008 to late 2014. He says that in 2012, he was ordered not to conduct operations with SEMAR because of allegations “that its actions resulted in the deaths of suspects,” Beltran Leon’s lawyers wrote, adding, “The order was later rescinded without explanation.”
According to Beltran Leon’s court filing, a DEA inquiry into the torture allegations found that four DEA agents were deployed in the area of Beltran Leon’s arrest, but didn’t not go to the scene because they’re “prohibited from participating in any arrests in Mexico.”
DEA said the agents later traveled to the SEMAR base where Beltran Leon was taken and examined his phones for intelligence, but didn’t encounter him there.
Silva doesn’t think that scenario makes sense, according to Beltran Leon’s lawyers, Stephen Ralls and Paul Brayman.
“In the opinion of Mr. Silva, the DEA agents would want to obtain information and evidence quickly, especially from the cellular telephones of the arrested person, in order to find other high-value targets before they flee or discard their phones, rather than remaining in their cars nearby without coming to the scene once it was secure,” they wrote.
Ralls and Brayman called the alleged torture of their client “medieval.”
“Dozens of masked men stormed into his house after midnight, dragged him, his wife, his mother and his baby daughter from their beds, beat him with excruciatingly painful blows to the head and buttocks, administered electric shocks to his legs, suffocated him repeatedly for hour after hour with plastic bags until he passed out, drowned him in a barrel of water while he was wrapped up like a mummy, all while threatening to kill him and to gang-rape and kill his wife, daughter and mother, and last but not least, they sexually attacked him,” they wrote.
“The real question here is whether the United States government may sub-contract the Mexican Navy to drag people — in this case including a U.S. citizen — out of their beds at night and inflict horrendous torture on them in order to find higher-level people that they are looking for, and then argue that this court is powerless to do anything about it.”
Re: U.S. knew Mexico tortured drug suspects in hunt for El Chapo: former DEA boss
A disgraced admitted lying former DEA agent as a defense witness will surely convict this POS drug trafficker . As a Mexican citizen I see nothing wrong with torturing these criminals or even inflicting the same type of harsh treatment on their families that they have no qualms inflicting on innocent victims . Not one law abiding Mexican citizen cares about the fate of these criminals and the only people protesting are a bunch of naive arm chair human rights apologists . Para acabar con la rabia , a que matar el perro .