07/01/14 (written by amacdonald) — Allegations have emerged recently of potential corrupt ties in the case of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera, the former leader of the Sinaloa Cartel who was arrested on February 22, 2014. As the trials near in his case, a protected source has disclosed that two former law enforcement officers have testified that they had been working for El Chapo, and that he had infiltrated the Baja California Attorney General’s Office (Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado, PGJE) in 2006, if not earlier. As reported in El Universal, one of the testimonies was given by the former bodyguard of Baja California Attorney General Antonio Martínez Luna, who, the bodyguard claims, had protected the Sinaloa Cartel.
While the recent allegations are simply allegations, speculation of El Chapo’s ties with authorities has grown from questionable experiences he had over the years. For example, in 2009 nearly half a ton of drugs were seized in the border town of Mexicali, Baja California, prompting the federal Attorney General’s Office (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR) to bring charges against El Chapo after evidence was found that he was involved in the trafficking. As Univisión reports, however, a judge then dropped the charges citing a lack of evidence. El Chapo had also previously been imprisoned in 1993, though he managed to escape in 2001 by allegedly hiding in a laundry cart and aided in part by bribed prison guards.
Despite El Chapo’s arrest, the violence and drug trafficking tied to the Sinaloa Cartel have not seemed to diminish in the past four months. “He needed to go down. Will it change things here? I do not know, bit it was important to catch him because it send a strong message,” commented a U.S. law enforcement official in March. While El Chapo’s takedown is regarded as an important and symbolic step in the fight against criminal organizations and drug trafficking, the leadership of the Sinaloa Cartel seemingly transferred to Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada García and appears to continue operating as normal. El Chapo was the most wanted criminal in the United States after the 2011 death of Osama Bin Laden, and has been named by Forbes magazine as one of the richest and most powerful men in the world.