A high-ranking Mexican drug trafficker with the powerful Sinaloa cartel made a series of explosive allegations in a federal court filing, arguing that he had an agreement with top U.S. officials allowing his criminal empire to obtain American weapons from the federal government while shipping tons of cocaine and heroin across the border. According to court documents, U.S. agents even helped the cartel elude Mexican and American investigators in exchange for information on rival drug groups.
The claims were made by Jesus Vicente “El Vicentillo” Zambada-Niebla, who was arrested by the Mexican military in 2009 and extradited to the U.S. for trial on federal drug-trafficking charges. Prosecutors accused him of serving as the “logistical coordinator” for the Sinaloa cartel. He responded earlier this year by invoking a “public authority” defense — essentially arguing that since he was working for the U.S. government under an agreement, he cannot be prosecuted.
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Artist's drawing of Vicente Zambada Niebla: AP Images