- Extradited Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s trial is set to begin Monday in a Brooklyn federal court.
- US Attorney of the Eastern District of New York Richard Donoghue filed court documents revealing that Guzman’s billion-dollar cartel is now being run by two of his sons.
- Donoghue said he fears cooperating witnesses in the trial could be harmed by the drug empire.
The sons of extradited Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman are running the kingpin’s empire as he prepares for trial in New York, according to new court filings.
Guzman is set to begin trial on Monday in a federal court in Brooklyn on charges of drug trafficking and conspiracy.
Last week, US Attorney of the Eastern District of New York Richard Donoghue, filed court documents revealing that Guzman’s billion-dollar cartel is still being run by two of his sons and said he fears cooperating witnesses in the trial could be harmed by the drug empire.
“There is no doubt that the defendant and his cartel have the capability, the resources, and the will to harm cooperating witnesses and their families, even after they have been relocated,” Donoghue wrote in a filing to the judge on October 28 regarding the safety of witnesses testifying against Guzman.
Guzman, 61, formerly led Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel, which has been described by officials as one of the world’s most powerful drug trafficking organisations.
He was extradited to the US from Mexico in January 2017 after escaping two Mexican prisons.
According to the New York Post, brothers Ivan Archivaldo Guzman Salazar and Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar have been running the cartel since Guzman’s extradition last year.
“The whole family still controls a significant criminal network and has access to huge funds,” a former DEA agent told The Post.
Another source told The Post that the brothers have the resources “to affect witnesses.”
Alfredo was added to the Drug Administration’s 10 Most Wanted List last month and there is now a $US5 million reward for information leading to his capture. Donoghue said in court filings that both brothers and Guzman’s wife, Emma Coronel, “are routinely found on social media flaunting their massive financial resources.”
According to court filings seen by Reuters, witnesses in Guzman’s Brooklyn trial will include former Sinaloa Cartel members and others who are cooperating with the US government.
Prosecutors have not publicly named witnesses and fear that doing so could put them in danger.