The Trial Of Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman Loera Daniel_B_photos/ Pixabay

A major cocaine dealer who helped authorities bring down Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera, gave his testimony in a federal court on Monday saying his wife was granted immunity from prosecution. Pedro Flores appeared before a judge to testify on behalf of his wife Vivianna Lopez, who was promised immunity by the feds in exchange for cooperation from him and his twin brother, Margarito, to spill the beans on El Chapo. The Flores brothers eventually became informants for the government as they provided secretly recorded conversations with Guzman that helped put away the notorious capo for life.

The Chicago drug dealer who used to supply the Sinaloa Cartel together with his twin brother ran a $2 billion drug ring in Chicago spanning major cities in the U.S. between 1998 to 2008. Pedro and Margarito Flores were handed a 14-year prison sentence in 2015 but were released under the witness protection program in 2020.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Flores’ testimony comes in light of money laundering charges against his wife and his sister-in-law Valeria Gaytan. Both women are accused of helping stash millions of dollars of their husband’s drug money by spending it on lavish lifestyles that included luxury trips, private school tuition, and ostentatious living expenses.

At the same time, Gaytan testified in court admitting that she flew to Chicago in April 2008 to inform their criminal defense lawyer of the Flores twins’ intentions to snitch against the Sinaloa cartel. She mentioned her interview in 2011 at the U.S. Attorney’s Office while helping investigators recover the assets of the Flores brothers. Gaytan said she had asked Shakeshaft about a letter she received that stated the promised immunity was merely a “distinct possibility”.

Flores testified via video link who said that then Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Shakeshaft repeatedly promised his family immunity although this was never put in writing. There was no mention of such in the plea agreement that was secretly signed by both brothers in 2012. Shakeshaft, on the other hand, was expected to testify about the inclusions of the secret agreement, however, he died on July 19 at the age of 55 due to health issues.

During the hearing, other federal agents testified never having heard of the immunity promise from Shakeshaft, while prosecutors maintained that no such promise was made or are ever given to cartel wives. U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kennelly is set to decide on whether to grant Flores and Gaytan the unverified immunity pass.

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