Former drug cartel kingpin Joaquín Guzmán, aka “El Chapo,” in on trial in federal court in Brooklyn on a seventeen count indictment that will nearly inevitably in him doing life without parole in the Supermax at Florence, CO.
The charges in the indictment filed against Guzman Loera in the Eastern District of New York will be prosecuted jointly by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in Brooklyn and Miami and the Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section of the Criminal Division.
The indictment alleges that between January 1989 and December 2014, Guzman Loera led a continuing criminal enterprise responsible for importing into the United States and distributing massive amounts of illegal narcotics and conspiring to murder persons who posed a threat to Guzman Loera’s narcotics enterprise.
Guzman Loera is also charged with using firearms in relation to his drug trafficking and money laundering relating to the bulk smuggling from the United States to Mexico of more than $14 billion in cash proceeds from narcotics sales throughout the United States and Canada. As part of this investigation, nearly 200,000 kilograms of cocaine linked to the Sinaloa Cartel have been seized. The indictment seeks forfeiture of more than $14 billion in drug proceeds and illicit profits.
There are lots of “cooperating witnesses” an boodles of physical evidence but the fly in the ointment is that El Chapo has a history of being a customer of Eric Holder’s Justice Department. Under Holder, the only Attorney General to ever be cited for criminal contempt by the Houses of Representatives, El Chapo was allowed to buy a massive amount of firepower from gun stores in the United States using straw-buyers and using gun stores who were cooperating with the federal government under what was known as Operation Fast and Furious. Several of those weapons were recovered from El Chapo’s headquarters when he was arrested. Federal prosecutors don’t want the jury of rubes to hear about it. I say rubes because that is plainly how the federal prosecutors see the jury.
Given the amount of negative reporting on the Operation, it was not difficult for the government to predict that the defense would attempt to distract and confuse the jury by referencing the Operation during trial.
The defense strategy is transparent. Given the substantial number of articles that have been written about the Operation, many of which criticize the government’s handling of the movement of weapons from the United States into Mexico, the defense is attempting to use the well-known operation to place the government on trial. While the government will seek to introduce at trial seized weapons that had been identified by ATF agents within the scope of the Operation, any details about the Operation itself are completely irrelevant to the issues at trial under Rule 401 of the Federal Rules of Evidence and should be excluded on those grounds alone. To the extent that the details of the Operation are in any way relevant, pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 403, any minimal relevance would be greatly outweighed by the substantial risk of misleading the jury and unfair prejudice against the government.
If you’ll recall, this is the same tactic used by the federal government when it tried two men for the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. There it arguably was above board, though I really believe that a person on trial for their life should be allowed to make just about any claim they wish. In this case, I don’t think the jury hearing about the criminality of Eric Holder’s Justice Department is going to convince a jury to free a guy who ran hundreds of tons of illegal drugs in the United States, but I don’t have any objection to his attorneys putting the US government on trial here in regards to the firearms charges. Someone, namely anyone who participated in the planning and execution of the Fast and Furious atrocity, should have been put on trial long ago as an accessory to murder in the case of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry and a few hundred Mexican citizens.
While the desire to win and to get guilty verdicts on all charges is understandable, what is not understandable is the Justice Department continuing to cover-up, whitewash, and otherwise minimize the criminality of the Obama Justice Department. One would think that, at a minimum, the Trump Justice Department would have a vested interest in shining a spotlight on this casual malfeasance and ensure that enough stink was attached to the tactics used that it could never be used again.
Chapo Trial Fast and Furious by on Scribd
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