El Chapo’s trial is shown video of dramatic raid on submarine laden with cocaine worth $100 million en route to Mexico – where drug kingpin’s Sinaloa cartel would hide it in shoeboxes, oil tankers and even cans of jalapeno peppers to sneak it into the US
- Jurors watched footage of US Coast Guard’s seizure of 13,000lbs of cocaine
- A team boarded the vessel off the coast of Guatemala in September 2008
- After detaining the smugglers, the team found 237 bales of cocaine on board
- The drugs were intended to be taken to Mexico before being snuck into the US
Dramatic video showing the capture of a cocaine-laden submarine by the US Coast Guard was shown during El Chapo’s trial.
Jurors in Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s trial at Brooklyn on Thursday watched footage of the seizure of 13,000lbs of cocaine – worth more than $100 million – off the coast of Guatemala in 2008.
US Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Todd Bagetis told the court the daring raid was planned to happen at night to catch drug smugglers off guard, the New York Daily News reports.
It showed Bagetis and his team racing up on inflatable rafts and boarding the vessel armed with guns, flashlights and night vision goggles.
Scroll down for video
The US Coast Guard captured this submarine filled with cocaine off the coast of Guatemala in 2008. Footage of the raid was shown to juror’s in El Chapo’s trial
After boarding the vessel, officials found 237 bales of cocaine worth more than $100million stashed on board (pictured, a hatch containing 37 bales)
More bales of cocaine were hidden behind a door on the vessel, which was manned by four ‘very angry’ smugglers
Four ‘very angry’ smugglers tried to get away by reversing the engines – and his crew were left ‘hanging onto the exhaust pipe for dear life.’
After detaining the smugglers, Bagetis – who said he was seriously injured in the operation – said his team found 237 bales of cocaine, according to the New York Post.
But the packaging on some of the bales had torn and so he and his team were exposed to the drug through ‘molecules in the air’ or through skin contact.
El Chapo associate who surgically altered his face to avoid…
Boat captain smuggling 20,000kg of cocaine for kingpin ‘El…
Share this article
Under cross-examination, Bagetis said he couldn’t recall if El Chapo’s name came up in any relevant report he reviewed.
Earlier in the week, former Colombian kingpin Juan Carlos Ramirez Abadia, a key government witness, said he had invented the kind of submarine seen in the video to more discreetly transport his cocaine into Mexico and the US.
Coast guard officers who raided the boat said that packaging on some of the bales had ripped and they were ‘exposed’ to the drug during the raid
The raid took place at night so as to catch the smugglers off guard, before the submarine was towed back to shore during the day
Pictured is frigate USS McInerney towing the submarine back to shore after the raid
Once the drugs arrived in Mexico, Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel allegedly hit it inside oil tankers, shoeboxes and even cans of pickled jalapeno peppers in a bid to sneak it into the US.
Ramirez Abadia also spelled out the bloodshed and other cold realities of international drug-trafficking without expressing regret or making excuses.
He was asked on cross-examination by a lawyer for Guzman whether he ordered scores of murders, whether he kept a ledger that showed how much hit men were paid, and whether he repeatedly lied to and bribed Colombian authorities with tens of millions of dollars to stay in business.
An empty La Comadre brand pepper can, which Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel reportedly stuffed with cocaine and snuck into the United States
Among the matter-of-fact answers he gave through a Spanish interpreter: ‘Totally correct.’ ‘Obviously.’ ‘At the time, of course I lied.’ ‘That’s how it was, sir.’
The testimony by Ramirez Abadia, known for radically altering his face through plastic surgery, came during the third week of the trial in federal court in Brooklyn.
Guzman’s lawyers say the witness is part of a crew of low-life cooperators who are framing their client to get breaks in their own drug-trafficking cases.
Ramirez Abadia testified how his Norte del Valle cartel used a fleet of planes and boats to ship tons of cocaine to Mexico, where the Sinaloa cartel was tasked with smuggling it into the United States under the direction of Guzman and others.
Prosecutors say the massive amounts of drugs and cash flowing back and forth across the U.S. border in the 1990s and early 2000s were documented in ledgers that looked like mundane business records.
Seeking to drive home the human toll of the violent drug trade, defense attorney William Purpura got Ramirez Adadia to confirm the ledgers also showed the expenses for murders for hire – $45,000 to have three people killed and $338,776 in another instance because, he said, so many hit men were involved.
The dead included a top lieutenant rubbed out in prison after his arrest merely because, Ramirez Adadia suggested, ‘he knew a lot about my organization.’
Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman (pictured in a courtroom sketch) is on trial in Brooklyn federal court, charged with 17 criminal counts, and faces life in prison if convicted.
Guzman (pictured in January 2016) was one of the world’s most wanted fugitives until he was captured in January 2016 in his native Sinaloa, after twice escaping prison
Juan Carlos Ramirez Abadia testifies against accused Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman in this courtroom sketch from December 3
Another time, the witness said he lured a mutinous cartel member to a meeting where the victim and his entourage were slaughtered in a gangland-style ambush, their bodies then loaded in pickup trucks for disposal.
He also acknowledged lower-level operatives in the New York City area were knocked off under suspicion of stealing or snitching, including a woman in Fort Lee, New Jersey.
Her husband and son also perished in the process, according to the defense.
Once he learned he had been indicted in the US, Ramirez Adadia fled to Brazil, where he made his face look like a theatrical mask with implants and injections.
He also used disguises for photos on fake identification cards with various aliases in a bid to hide his identity, which ultimately failed.
Once he learned he had been indicted in the US, Ramirez Adadia (let and right) fled to Brazil, where he made his face look like a theatrical mask with implants and injections
In the trial, expected to last up to four months, prosecutors are seeking to prove that Guzman sent massive shipments of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine into the United States as the leader of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel.
But Guzman’s lawyers have said they would prove their client was framed by another drug lord, Ismael ‘El Mayo’ Zambada, and the government officials he had allegedly bribed.
Guzman was one of the world’s most wanted fugitives until he was captured in January 2016 in his native Sinaloa, after twice escaping prison.
The 61-year-old was extradited to the United States in January 2017 and is accused of directing massive shipments of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana.
He is on trial in Brooklyn federal court, charged with 17 criminal counts, and faces life in prison if convicted.
Source: Read Full Article