Wednesday, September 13, 2017

El Chapo Guzmán says: I will not make a deal with the U.S. or rat out anyone

By Chivis Martinez for Borderland Beat
Counsel for Joaquin El Chapo Guzmán confirmed to Borderland Beat,  that he will not accept a plea deal with the United States, nor will he cooperate, leading to indictment, or give information of any collaborators he has ever worked with.

If that means life in prison, than he will take it with head held high,

“Joaquín el Chapo Guzmán will not negotiate with the United States Attorney's Office, nor will he accuse any of the people with whom he has ever collaborated, on the contrary, he will face every test that the US government may have against him, even if it means the possibility of facing life in prison, said El Chapo’s lead attorney, Eduardo Balarezo.

Balarezo goes on to say that he is firm in the decision that he will not enter negotiations with U.S. prosecutors, “as many others have done”, but will have dignity to face justice without giving up anyone else.

Frozen Fees

Still in question, is the possibility that Balarezo’s attorney fees, and the fees of other attorneys privately representing Chapo’s may be frozen.

Money used for defense must be “clean” money not gained through illegal means.  Because of his alleged lifelong actions in drug trafficking and organized crime activates, in the case of El Chapo, it would appear to be a tough task to prove.  Same can be said of his family.  The glaring question is, how will the legal defense tab be paid? The government opinion is that he does not qualify for appointed counsel.  On one hand the government contends this, yet on the other they allude to possible freezing of fees.

According to the Mexican press Joaquin El Chapo Guzmán will not accept a plea deal with the United States, nor will he rat out, lead to indictment, or give information of any collaborators he has ever worked with.

If that means life, than he will take it with head held high,

Interview led to death
Balarezo goes on to say that he is firm in the decision that he will not enter negotiations with U.S. prosecutors, “as many others have done”, but will have dignity to face justice without giving up anyone else.

It is the contention of prosecutors that El Chapo’s money is derived from drug trafficking and other illegal activities, so it does have the power to freeze the funds.

United States prosecutors have already gone on record stating they may freeze the fees of the attorney group defending El Chapo.

When asked about concerns that attorney fees may be frozen, or tied up in litigation, Balarezo answered Borderland Beat by the following statement, “Of course I am concerned. However, the government has already taken the position that he is not eligible for court appointed counsel and that he should hire private counsel. So how can they now argue that he cannot pay private counsel? I have reviewed the law and the facts and am confident that what I am doing satisfies both.”

The government filed this in a letter to the court on  August 11th ;
“Certain private counsel have contacted the government and advised that they have obtained signed retainer agreements from the defendant. These attorneys, however, have sought prospective, written assurance that the government will not seek, at any time, to forfeit any legal fees collected by them for their representation of the defendant. In response, the government has advised private counsel that it will not grant a blanket, prospective assurance that it will forgo forfeiture of any and all funds received from the defendant for his legal fees.”
Balarezo also again mentions how difficult the conditions of imprisonment is for his client, saying that he has been denied visits, even with his wife and that, "in the United States every person is innocent until proven guilty, and “Mr. Guzman” should not be an exception."

Although, there exists a provision in law that allows for “Special Confinement Conditions” to apply in high risk cases, those are rarely applied and just about never in drug trafficking cases, typically it is used in high risk terrorists cases, like the Boston Bomber.   Prosecutors contend, El Chapos two previous prison escapes were aided by individuals who visited him in Mexican prisons.

Javier Valdez gunned down, his trademark hat sits atop his dead body 
As for a sweet plea deal, that seems to have weak potential, it is doubtful that he would be offered an excessively generous deal, such as those seemingly handed out like candy to other hard hitting narco bigs.

The legal team is impressive and El Chapo will need them, as the  direct evidence case is massive; 48 videos, telephone and in person recordings, documents, scientific reports, drug ledgers and the testimony of the Flores twins leading the way for the prosecution.  Most likely the testimony of Damaso Lopez Serrano will also be included and perhaps that of his father,  Damaso Lopez Nuñez, former close associate and right hand "compadre" of El Chapo,  who is rumored ready to cooperate.  It is rumored that it was Damaso Sr. who was behind the arrangement of his son turning himself in to U.S. authorities in exchange for cooperation.  If Jr. stayed in Mexico, he was dead man walking due to the violent war  with El Chapo’s sons.

The interview

Damaso López, is the former deputy director of the Puente Grande max security prison.  Puente Grande is the first prison El Chapo escaped from.  Damaso gained status with the capo by assisting in the  escape in January 2001.

In February, 2017, Lopez Nuñez sent a representative to meet with Riodoce journalist Javier Valdez, for an interview on his behalf.  A few months later, Valdez was gunned down in the street outside his offices.  Riodoce editor Ismael Bojorquez, says the interview incensed “one side of the conflict” which resulted in Valdez’ murder.  In the interview Lopez Nuñez representative denied the accusation by the sons of El Chapo, that it was him who had El Chapo’s son Jesus Alfredo kidnapped in Puerto Vallarta. Chapo’s sons said in an open letter that Lopez Nunez tried to have them killed.  In the interview with Valdez, it was denied attacking Guzman's sons and called "El Mayo" his friend.

Extract of Valdez’ Riodoce interview:

Dámaso's envoy, whose headquarters is located in the Eldorado area a part of the San Lorenzo Valley, in this capital city - although he also had command in La Paz, Baja California Sur, and Mazatlán - said that Licenciado is not broken with the Sinaloa Cartel and that  he retains his friendship with [el Mayo] Zambada. 
He said that Los Menores [The minors, Chapo’s sons] ”have not respected the agreements and have provoked them violently for about a year, with people and equipment, as part of a coup against Lopez Núñez, "taking advantage of my good faith, with betrayal, they have spread the rumor  that the DEA supports me, but it is not true. I have pride and I respect the codes ".

"Did Damaso split from El Mayo?”

-Of course not. Mr. Zambada is a fine person, who is always respected.

"Is Dámaso out of the Sinaloa Cartel?"

"He and the group of leaders are friends with Mr. Zambada, and logic and facts speak more than a thousand words".

"Is it a friend of Mayo and enemy of Los Chapitos ?"

-Iván, Alfredo and his uncle are sick with power, but it is through abuse that they become forced friends. They support them more out of fear than because they are right. He (Damaso) is a friend of el Mayo but also a friend of Mr. Joaquín Guzmán.

"It cannot be said that Dámaso is an enemy of Ivan or Alfredo, although he knows that they are misdirected but at any moment they can reflect and mature. They do not want Dámaso, but Dámaso has said that he cannot be enemy of the children of a person "to whom I love and I appreciate".

"Can this be solved?"

"Everything is solved by good communication. We have only defended ourselves, but we have never provoked them. They have a year provoking Licenciado.

He warned that it has been painful for innocent people to die and that the families of those involved are suffering and remain in constant "torment".

He said that el Mayo has a crucial role in the Sinaloa Cartel, which for many are suffering  with the conflict between the group of López Nunez and the brothers Guzman Salazar, backed by his uncle, Aureliano Guzman Loera, el Guano.

"Mr. Zambada is a pacifist and he has fought for this to be solved, but the boys and his uncle, Guano, do not obey him and do not respect Mr. Joaquin Guzman Loera's decision to keep the businesses as they were, each in their regions, and to have communication and coordination."

If Dámaso was treacherous, he added, "He would not have the friendship or confidence he has with Zambada."
The Letter

In a letter sent to journalist Ciro Gómez Leyva, the sons of Guzmán Loera accused Dámaso López Núñez of attempting to kill them, at an alleged meeting which they were summoned by Dámaso. Chapo’s sons indicate that they were injured and Ismael Zambada García also attended the meeting. The attack would have been on February 4 and the Guzman Salazar reports indicate that it was in the mountainous area of ​​Badiraguato municipality.

"On 4 February 2017, Mr. Dámaso López organized a meeting with  Mr. Ismael Zambada and the family of Joaquin Guzman, on the issjue of Dámaso López ordering the kidnapping of the children of El Chapo ', "the letter reads.

Once in the meeting place, they add in the letter, "they realized that Dámaso López was missing, soon shooting began against the personal escorts of the family, the escorts were killed instantly,  Chapo’s sons realized that they were betrayed by the Dámaso Lopez to be assassinated.".

"Mr. Zambada and the family of Joaquín Guzmán exited the place, only to discover armed people under the command of Dámaso López everywhere,  trying again to take their lives,   they got lost among the mountains, without having notion of where they were. They were injured when traveling several kilometers finding a small town and  being aided by people of the place.