At El Chapo’s Trial, a Son Betrays His Father, and the Cartel

As years handed, Mr. Zambada mentioned, he rose via the ranks and turned his father’s high lieutenant, overseeing cocaine shipments from Colombia to Mexico, and from Mexico throughout the United States border to cities like Chicago and Los Angeles. At completely different occasions, he performed quite a few and various roles for the cartel: ambassador, operations supervisor and messenger boy.

In 2009, nevertheless, Mr. Zambada was arrested throughout an Army operation in Mexico City and extradited to Chicago. At first, he was anticipated to be prosecuted there on prices of smuggling tons of medication whereas serving as his father’s right-hand man. But earlier than his trial started, his legal professionals dropped a bombshell: They claimed that for years he had been working secretly as a spy for the D.E.A., swapping details about his rivals in change for the skill to run his enterprise freely.

While American authorities have acknowledged that Mr. Zambada met with federal brokers, they’ve lengthy denied there was any quid professional quo settlement. In a latest ruling, Judge Brian M. Cogan, who’s listening to Mr. Guzmán’s case, mentioned that Mr. Zambada’s claims concerning his cooperation with the Americans can’t be talked about at the trial.

[For The Times’s Alan Feuer, masking the El Chapo trial has been a bit like commuting to a area station. Read extra.]

Mr. Zambada in the end pleaded responsible to drug trafficking prices in a secret continuing in Chicago in 2013. And for the final 5 years, he has been ready to look in courtroom and inform his story.

He did so on Thursday, energetically telling jurors how he as soon as deliberate to interrupt Mr. Guzmán’s brother out of jail with a helicopter. (The brother, Arturo, was killed earlier than the escape could possibly be tried.) He additionally testified that in 2007 he met with a group of “high-level politicians” and representatives from Pemex, Mexico’s nationwide oil firm, to debate a scheme to ship 100 tons of cocaine in a tanker vessel owned by the agency.

But the focus of his testimony on Thursday was his father.

One of the first questions the prosecution requested him was: “What does your dad do for a living?”

There was just one reply.

“My dad is the Sinaloa cartel’s leader,” Mr. Zambada mentioned.

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