US fed agents allowed cartel to traffic cocaine in exchange for information

04/08/2011 02:01

 

U.S. federal agents allegedly allowed the Sinaloa drug cartel to traffic several tons of cocaine to the United States in exchange for information about rival cartels, according to court documents filed in a U.S. federal court.

The allegations are part of the defense of Vicente Zambada-Niebla, a top lieutenant of drug kingpin Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman, who was extradited to the United States to face drug-trafficking charges in Chicago.

The case could prove to be a bombshell on par with the ATF's "Operation Fast and Furious," except that instead of U.S. guns being allowed to walk across the border, the Sinaloa cartel was allowed to bring drugs into the United States over a five-year period, the documents allege.

Zambada-Niebla, who worked for Guzman, is the son of Vicente "Mayo" Zambada, another drug lord associated with the Sinaloa cartel.

Drug investigators said Guzman's cartel transported drugs from the Juarez-El Paso border to Chicago, a pipeline that historians say dates back to the Al Capone days when smugglers ferried liquor from Juárez to the northern city.

Diana Washington Valdez may be reached at dvaldez@elpasotimes.com; 546-6140.

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