NEW YORK – the Secretly recorded conversations played Wednesday in the AMERICAN trial of the notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzman make him sound as if he was enjoying his life as a narco-outlaw.
“Amigo!” a cheerful voice identified as Guzman says at the beginning of 2008 a call was made by an American drug distributor, which has been on the witness stand this week.
“Here at your service,” Guzman said, according to a government translation of the conversation spoken in Spanish. “You know that.”
A jury heard the recordings at a federal trial in Brooklyn, where Guzman faces drug trafficking charges accusing him of orchestrating a wave of violence to protect his wildly profitable operation. Since sent to the USA at the beginning of last year, after twice breaking out of the Mexican prison, his lawyers have said that he is surrounded by a cadre of shady employees.
The last employee to testify, Pedro Flores, the so-called Guzman after he agreed to cooperate with the Drug Enforcement Administration agents investigating the imaginary boss of the Sinaloa cartel, who was hiding in a mountainous region of Mexico. Flores, who is a refugee in Mexico at the time, testified that he wanted to help his DEA handlers to de Guzman on tape discussing a large-scale heroin deal.
After few exchange of pleasantries on one call, Flores recorded himself with the question as a favor or Guzman could cut the per-kilo price they had originally agreed upon $5,000 to $ 50,000. Guzman sounds happy to help.
“I’ll get the money tomorrow,” Guzman says with some hesitation. “That price is fine.”
Flores asked Guzman in a brief follow-up call on the same day as he was able to deliver a large shipment of heroin to fill a Chicago-based distribution network that Flores and his identical twin brother, Margarito, still governed from Mexico. Guzman ask why, because it was his understanding that the Flores twins had already received a shipment of another cartel supplier.
“Yes, but it was not good,” he responds. “It doesn’t compare with what you had.”
In the end, Flores told the jury, a kingpin feared far and wide “has agreed to my terms.”
Associated Press writer Claudia Torrens contributed to this report.