file picture of Members of the National Guard patrolling a street in Culiacan, Sinaloa state
'El Chapo' Rival Extradited To U.S. As Key Witness Against Cartel Leader Photo by Alfredo Estrella/AFP via Getty Images

The wives of twin Chicago drug traffickers, the Flores brothers, were denied immunity from prosecution on Tuesday. Valerie Gaytan and Vivianna Lopez, both of whom were accused of laundering millions from the proceeds of their husbands’ drug operations, requested for dismissal of the money laundering charges against them. Gaytan and Lopez both cooperated against Sinaloa capo Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in the hopes of gaining immunity from prosecution.

Federal U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly denied their request for immunity despite the wives’ argument they presented over the course of several hearings in July. They pointed out being assured by prosecutors that their husbands’ cooperation to pin El Chapo meant they would also be exempt from charges. Kennelly said his decision was based on the fact that there was no evidence of having ever entered an immunity agreement for both women. He added that any future charges that would involve the alleged laundering of funds related to the issue at hand would certainly not merit immunity, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The hearing was held telephonically where Kennelly stated there was no formal agreement or any proof in writing that presented their argument for immunity when Pedro and Margarito Flores made their plea agreement. Kennelly’s ruling now paves the way for the case to proceed to trial in June 2023.

Last year, Lopez was indicted on money laundering charges for allegedly hauling drug money across the border loaded in rental trucks. Gaytan was questioned on drug money amounting to $9 million allegedly stored under the floorboards of her home in Plainfield. The cash Lopez had laundered was secretly recouped by associates of the cartel twins in the U.S.

Such drug proceeds are said to be stashed in houses, or hidden in compartments of vehicles. The cartel wives had mostly spent the money on private school tuition for their kids, rent expenses as well as on international and local travel. Lopez reportedly had opened a laundry business in Arizona investing $31,000 from the laundered drug money as capital.

Gaytan and Lopez have a book out on the market shelves titled, “Cartel Wives” published in 2017. The book is a tell-all of their secret turbulent yet lavish lives. A passage from the book was used by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Erskine to counter their claims of having been promised immunity. In the book, Gaytan said she told family lawyers the brothers were adamant about the deal with the government as this would include immunity for their family. But Gaytan was quoted saying were taking a leap of faith and were given "no promises.

File picture of Mexican drug trafficker Joaquin Guzman Loera aka 'El Chapo Guzman'
Mexican drug trafficker Joaquin Guzman Loera aka "el Chapo Guzman" (C), is escorted by marines as he is presented to the press on February 22, 2014 in Mexico City. Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has escaped from a maximum-security prison for the second time in 14 years, sparking a massive manhunt Sunday and dealing an embarrassing blow to the government. Photo by Alfredo Estrella/AFP via Getty Images

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.