This would normally make headline news, but with the Chapo trial.
SAN DIEGO — The alleged leader of a Mexican money laundering and cocaine trafficking organization and close associate of alleged Sinaloa drug boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman made his first appearance in San Diego federal court Tuesday.
Victor Manuel Felix-Felix was indicted by a federal grand jury in San Diego in 2011 and charged with engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, conspiracy to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He was flown from Mexico City to San Diego on Monday.
“Today is a reminder that international drug kingpins who profit by shipping narcotics into our community are not safe from prosecution,” said U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman. “We will work with our international partners to bring them to justice wherever they reside.”
According to extradition documents, Drug Enforcement Administration agents began investigating a money laundering organization based in Southern California in 2009.
One agent, acting in an undercover capacity, flew to Panama City and posed as the leader of a transportation cell capable of moving narcotics and bulk currency using private aircraft, authorities said.
After several additional undercover meetings, the agent gained the trust of the organization and agreed to begin picking up bulk currency for transfer to Mexico.
Over the course of 2010 and 2011, the agent arranged for the transfer of millions of dollars in currency, coordinating with local law enforcement to arrange pickups in Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Chicago, Montreal and Vancouver, British Columbia, authorities said.
After the successful currency pickups, the undercover agent began traveling to Central America to meet with higher-level members of Felix-Felix’s organization, authorities said.
In September 2010, the agent offered that he could transport cocaine from Ecuador to Mexico City, according to extradition documents.
Felix-Felix agreed, and provided the agent with an encrypted phone and a cash down payment of $3.5 million for his services, the documents stated.
A team of DEA agents then flew to Ecuador to set up a roadside checkpoint and seized a truck containing 2,500 kilograms of cocaine intended for Felix-Felix, according to authorities.
After the seizure in Ecuador, the undercover agent offered Felix-Felix a plan that he would transport another load of cocaine from Ecuador to Mexico City.
After receiving an upfront payment of $1 million, DEA agents coordinated with Ecuadorian and Mexican law enforcement to arrange for an international “controlled delivery” of cocaine using a private jet.
Agents picked up cocaine in Ecuador, transported it to Mexico City, then seized it after it was delivered to members of the Felix-Felix organization, according to the extradition documents.
Felix-Felix, whose daughter is reportedly married to Guzman’s son, and 18 others were arrested.
Guzman was extradited to the United States earlier this year and faces trial in New York.
There is a statement I read somewhere yesterday from his lawyer, that says something along the lines of this:
[He is not going to cooperate, he has not made any deals and he will face jail time in Mexico after he has completed his sentence in the US].
At the end of the hearing, his lawyer Guadalupe Valencia clarified that his client "is not cooperating with the government," nor does he intend to do so.
"Of what he pleaded guilty today is to being part of this conspiracy for a very short period and certain specific acts, he did not own the drugs or the money, but he was a member of the conspiracy and there large amounts of money and drugs, " said Valencia.
Victor Felix Felix was arrested in 2011 after organizing two shipments of cocaine from Ecuador to Mexico for an undercover agent of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Felix Felix would have paid $4.5 million dollars in cash to an undercover agent to help him transport drugs and cash, according to a statement from the US Attorney's Office.
"El Señor", whose daughter would be married to one of Guzmán Loera's children, according to the Prosecutor's Office, was arrested along with several of his collaborators after an operation involving the authorities of Mexico and Ecuador.
This guilty plea comes a day after a judge in New York denied Guzmán Loera's request to postpone the start of the trial and confirm the start of the same pair on November 5.
The defendant, one of the financial operators of the Sinaloa Cartel, accepted his guilt in a federal court in San Diego before Judge Marilyn Huff. The judge explained that once he completes his sentence in the US “It is almost certain he will be deported to Mexico,” where he still has criminal charges pending.
wrong person...that is the brother i think aka puerca and really i don't think they want him. where is this retraction from?
Guadalupe is a female. and she is the top money mover. she made the plea deal already. the sentencing hearing will be in feb
but your retraction below doesn't make sense. the felix sentencing memos and everything has been sent to la patrona atty. and the el chapo case attys for the gov have been at her last half dozen hearings.
the big hearing was to be the last wk of nov, but it was postponed. so looks like negotiation are still ongoing.
The way I see it.... the more people that don't like me, the less people I have to please
This was part of the same operation to catch Chapo, which began in San Diego, in 2009, with a group of marijuana traffickers,
One whose, father was Sinaloa affiliated, his son Zacharias Felix Cutino, was indicted in the marijuana case, and meth distribution case from summer 2008
The Dad, cooperated and introduced agents from DEA to a contact of his in Nogales, a woman who moved moved money from Sinaloa, who in turn introduced agents to the Panama contact.
This is all detailed in the Andrew Hogan book, it was his op. I knew of the San Diego case, but never made the connection, as it was never revealed. All the names are changed in the book, but this is it.
Guadelupe Valencia is a San Diego based defense attorney who does many of the high profile Sinaloa cases, everyone uses him, and Jan Ronis, before him. Valencia represented Alejdrina Guzman Salazar when she was detained in 2012 at the San Ysidro cross, and dozens of others Sinaloa players.