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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Sinaloa Cartel’s Top Woman Will Be Out Of Prison In Just 3 Years

"HEARST" for Borderland Beat 

Sinaloa Cartel's El Chapo and La Patrona, with the Chicago federal building on Dearborn St. where La Patrona's sentencing occurred as background.

The woman who was the high-ranking Sinaloa operative when it was being led by El Chapo was sentenced in a Chicago federal court and she will be released from prison in three years time. 

On Tuesday, August 24, 2021, Guadalupe Fernández Valencia, alias “La Patrona” (The Boss) or “Don Julio”, was sentenced in Chicago to 10 years in federal prison on charges related to overseeing the distribution of massive shipments of narcotics to the U.S. and helping launder millions of dollars in proceeds back to Mexico. 

Fernández Valencia received time served credit towards these ten years. This means the time she has already served in prison in the US and Mexico counts towards reaching this ten years sentence, which leaves her with only 3 more years left before her expected release.

Courtroom sketch of Fernández Valencia and her lawyer from August 24, 2021.

It depends on the jurisdiction but often whether a convict receives time served is left up to the sentencing judge who considers the recommendations of both prosecutors and defense lawyers, as well as if the convict has had good behavior while in custody and any prior plea agreements made.

Fernández Valencia potentially faced a sentence of life in prison based on her charges in US courts for one count of narcotics trafficking and one count of money laundering conspiracy, however due to her “substantial” co-operation with investigators behind closed doors, Fernández Valencia received a plea deal.

As part of this plea deal she pled guilty to the two aforementioned charges and avoided a trial. The details of this plea agreement have previously been published by Borderland Beat in a 2019 article. 

Courtroom sketch of Fernández Valencia and US judge from August 24, 2021.

“I want to take advantage of this opportunity to ask forgiveness from my children and from my family,” Fernández Valencia reportedly said, according to the Chicago Sun Times, during her sentencing hearing.

While speaking in Spanish through an interpreter, she continued “I wish I could find the words to convince you of how sorry I am.”

U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman said during the sentencing hearing that Fernández Valencia’s cooperation came at risk to her own life and that of her children. The whereabouts of her five children are unknown.

“The huge reduction in sentence is a recognition that Fernández Valencia placed herself and her family at great risk by providing substantial assistance against a man some say was the most violent trafficker in the world,” said Bonnie Klapper, a criminal lawyer who has represented a number of high-profile female drug traffickers.

Guadalupe Fernández Valencia, alias “La Patrona” (The Boss) or “Don Julio”, was one of the highest ranking female operatives in the Sinaloa cartel during the time when boss Joaquin “El Chapo” was at the helm of the organization. Although her name is not well known within the general public, she was the only woman named on the indictment that helped send El Chapo to prison for life in the US. 

Fernández Valencia migrated from Mexico into California as a young woman. When later asked about her early background by Judge Ruben Castillo, Fernández Valencia broke down in tears. She told Castillo she began working an honest living by working in factories. However her life turned and she began dealing drugs in the 1990s after she became pregnant. Speaking through an interpreter, she told Castillo she had five children and that her husband was “no good to me.”

Her official criminal record dates back to 1998 when she was arrested and convicted for drug trafficking in California. She was 38 years old at the time of her arrest. She was sentenced to ten years in prison, of which she served 9 years for good behavior while in custody. 

In 2007, at 47 years old, her sentence ended and she was deported back to Mexico. She vowed to stop dealing, prosecutors said at the time, but was soon back in the business.

In 2009, she along with her brother Manuel Fernandez Valencia, alias "El Animal" or "La Puerca", began working under the Sinaloa Cartel. In the beginning, they were tasked with moving cocaine from Mexico into American cities like Los Angeles due their experience living and working in the US prior. 

Guadalupe Fernández Valencia's nephew Marcial Fernández who was later killed by a BLO hitman.  

In August 2010, Guadalupe’s nephew and Manuel’s son was famously murdered by Beltrán Leyva Organization (BLO) operative Israel Rincón, alias "El Guacho". Manuel’s son Marcial Fernández was killed by El Guacho reportedly after being mistaken for Chapo’s son Iván Archivaldo Guzmán who Guacho had been tasked with killing by the BLO. 

A day after the death of his son, Manuel received a personal phone call from Chapo where he expressed his condolences and vowed he would get find those who were responsible for the Marcial's murder. The Sinaloa Cartel did later find and torture El Guacho for the murder.

Chapo personally oversaw the event and had a doctor medically wake up Guacho everytime he passed out due to pain. Manuel said one of El Chapo's sons personally came to inform him they had found the man who had murdered his son.

Her brother Manuel Fernandez Valencia, alias "El Animal" being presented in Mexico City in 2008 after his arrest. 

In November 2010, Manuel Fernández Valencia was arrested in Sinaloa on charges of drug trafficking. Guadalupe Fernández Valencia reportedly stopped temporarily after the arrest of her brother, but by 2012 she began to sell cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamines for the Sinaloa Cartel again. Her established connections in the US allowed her to facilitate and organize these shipments, which led to her rising in the ranks of the Sinaloa Cartel.

Due to her success, Fernández Valencia began to report directly to one of El Chapo’s sons Jesús Alfredo Guzmán Salazar, alias “Alfredillo”. She was allegedly Alfredillo's second-in-command, most trusted advisor, and acted as a kind of “right-hand woman” to him within the organization. 

The indictment in which Fernández Valencia was named in states the Sinaloa Cartel was using jumbo jets, submarines and tunnels to smuggle massive amounts of drugs into the U.S. at the time. Many of these shipments were later distributed in wholesale quantities through a network built by Chicago twins Pedro and Margarito Flores. 

Fernández Valencia moved tons of drugs to the United States, then she moved drug money from Los Angeles to Guadalajara, Mexico, laundering it through currency exchanges that took a 3% cut of the profit she moved.

Fernandez Valencia helped smuggle 3,500 pounds of marijuana into the United States between just 2009 and 2010. She also moved an average of 30 kilograms of cocaine weekly out to customers around the Los Angeles area, according to her 2019 plea agreement.

El Chapo was rearrested in January 2016, following his 2015 Altiplano prison escape.  One month later, in February 2016, Fernández Valencia was arrested in the northwestern city of Culiacán in the state of Sinaloa, as previously reported on Borderland Beat at the time. 

She was then extradited from Mexico to the US city of Chicago in 2017 for her role in the Sinaloa Cartel distribution network. Valencia’s brother, Manuel Fernandez Valencia, who was charged as part of the same overall conspiracy, had previously been sentenced in Chicago in 2016 to 27 years in prison.


  1. Probably will dive right back into slangin'. Its all she knows.

  2. Chapo possibly murdered her nephew and had her bro and then later herself arrested. I hope she dimed on el chapo for that reduced sentence

    1. Do you have issues with your comprehension?

  3. 8:51 fitting chapo got snitched on

  4. She's one of many michoacan people cds snitched on to get the DEA of their back. Mencho knew that dealing with those cdsnitches he would be next to be snitched on


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