Joaquín Guzmán Loera is serving a life sentence in the US for his drug trafficking activities (Photo: REUTERS/Henry Romero)
The wife of a drug trafficker who betrayed the former leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán, was sentenced in the United States (USA) because she hid and spent millions of dollars that were the product of drug trafficking.
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This is Valerie Gaytán, wife of Margarito Flores, a criminal operator who testified at the trial of ‘El Chapo’ in New York, which helped the Sinaloa boss be sentenced to life in prison.
In mid-April, Gaytán pleaded guilty to money laundering before US authorities, as he acknowledged having carried out financial transactions with drug profits. Although this charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, the resolution obtained was much lower.
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The sentence that Judge Matthew Kennelly handed down to Gaytán last Monday was three and a half years in prison. This ruling derived from the accusation presented in a Chicago District Court in 2021, according to Univision reports.
Valerie Gaytán, wife of the drug trafficker who betrayed ‘El Chapo’, appeared on the CNBC program “American Greed” (Photo: Screenshot CNBC)
In her plea agreement, Valery (also known as Olivia Flores) acknowledged that between December 2008 and March 2020 she conspired to hide cash from her husband’s drug trafficking operations, who during that time was cooperating with the American authorities.
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The millionaire profits that Valery saved were spent on private school tuition, international trips, and the maintenance of his family.
To understand Gaytán’s case in more detail, it is necessary to know her husband, Margarito Flores. This guy has a twin named Pedro Flores. Both were considered some of the most important drug traffickers in Chicago who came from the upper echelons of the Sinaloa Cartel.
Within their criminal career, the Flores twins operated a criminal cell in Chicago to distribute drugs from the Sinaloa Cartel and the Beltrán Leyva organization. Between May 2005 and December 2008, they were responsible for transporting multiple shipments of cocaine and heroin, according to reports from the Department of Justice.
Pedro Flores and Margarito Flores distributed drugs from the Sinaloa Cartel in Chicago (Photo: Twitter@chikistrakiz)
The drugs were distributed in Chicago, Columbus, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, New York, Washington DC, Detroit, Los Angeles and Vancouver. Thanks to this, the brothers managed to generate a million-dollar fortune that, without knowing it, would be the reason why their respective wives would fall before American justice years later.
The illicit activities of Margarito and Pedro were known to the authorities, so in 2008 they agreed to cooperate with the Government of the neighboring country, so that their sentence would not be so severe.
This is how the Flores twins began to record conversations with members of the Sinaloa Cartel to deliver them to the United States. In two of them, ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán was heard directly, although he was not the only one who was “betrayed.”
“Their cooperation led to indictments against leaders of the Sinaloa cartel and the Beltrán Leyva organization, as well as the complete dismantling of the brothers’ own criminal enterprise, based in Chicago,” reads a Department of Justice report. Justice.
One of the Flores twins testified against ‘El Chapo’ (Photo: REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg)
Thanks to their collaboration, in 2015 the Flores were sentenced to 14 years in prison.
The twins’ cooperation reached its highest point when Pedro testified against ‘El Chapo’, in his trial that took place in New York in 2018. But that is not all, since both are credited with having delivered in 2009 to Vicente Zambada Niebla, alias ‘El Vicentillo’, son of Ismael ‘El Mayo’ Zambada, leader of the Sinaloa Cartel along with ‘El Chapo’.
The “betrayal” of the Sinaloa Cartel had repercussions for the twins. U.S. prosecutors even indicated at the time that Pedro and Margarito would live the rest of their lives in danger, due to fear of being killed in retaliation.
In 2009, the Flores brothers’ father was kidnapped and murdered when he entered Mexico, even though the US Government had warned him not to do so. It is unknown if the so-called Pacific Cartel is involved in this crime.