The US Most Wanted: how the betrayal of Vicente Zambada that marked the fall of El Chapo was forged

The US Most Wanted: how the betrayal of Vicente Zambada that marked the fall of El Chapo was forged
Vicente Zambada Niebla nods and smiles from the witness box (Photo: REUTERS / Jane Rosenberg)

The first chapter of the docuseries examines the personality of “The Lord” and mentions a curious episode that involved the eldest of Zamabada’s sons

Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada heads the list of protagonists of the new Netflix documentary, World’s Most Wanted, which deals with the fugitives most wanted by the US government. Among terrorists and genociders, Mexican drug traffickers and Cosa Nostra gangsters, Zambada stands out as the number 1 public enemy of the American Union.

The first chapter of the docuseries examines the personality of “El Senor” – how he is known in the Sinaloa underworld – and mentions a curious episode that involved the eldest of Zamabada’s sons, “El Vicentillo“, and who later became the arrest of the compadre of “Mayo”, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

On March 19, 2009, the arrest of a young drug trafficker surprised the media. The image of the drug dealer with cowboy boots and a hat had been left behind. The person in front of them was a man of bearing and well dressed, with a black velvet jacket that, according to what was noted, was of the Armani brand.

Zambada Niebla, in addition to being one of the most important members of the first generation of narco juniors, was an important part of the Sinaloa Cartel as a logistics coordinator to introduce the drug that arrived in Mexico via Central America to the United States.

El Vicentillo”, 45 years old and born in Culican, was arrested on March 18, 2009, in Mexico City, after having a meeting with agents of The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) at the Sheraton hotel on Paseo de la Reforma, located next to the US Embassy in Mexico.

Zambada Niebla was extradited to the United States in February 2010, and transferred to a maximum-security prison in Michigan, accused of being a senior member of the Sinaloa Cartel, of conspiring to possess and traffic drugs from Central and South America, as well as of obtaining weapons to attack public offices.

The first two years were spent in a cell without contact with other inmates. These strict conditions of isolation violated the eldest of the Zambada, and after some resistance, he finally agreed to provide information about the organization led by his father.

The Sinaloan pleaded guilty on April 3, 2013, in his role as logistics coordinator of the Sinaloa Cartel, and agreed to be responsible for the distribution of tons of cocaine between 2005 and 2008, from Central and South America, which was later brought to the United States by ship, aeroplanes, submarines, train, trucks, and automobiles.

Supposedly, during a call he made with his father from jail – curiously as close as the US authorities have been to the great kingpin – he told him to “do what he had to do.”

Since then, the son of “El Mayo” collaborated with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, in the preparation of the case against “El Chapo”, who was extradited to the United States on January 19, 2017, to be tried in New York.

For his collaboration, it is expected that the US federal judge Ruben Castillo, in charge of the trial of the son of “El Mayo”, set aside the life sentence that would correspond to “El Vicentillo” for his crimes, and impose a lesser sentence 10 years, as well as a fine of $ 4 million.

On July 8, Zambada Niebla asked a United States federal judge to release him because he is afraid of getting COVID-19.

According to court documents, released by the journalist of the newspaper The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Zambada Niebla told Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman who fears the new respiratory disease that affects the United States and the world. However, the Prosecutor’s Office denied granting him freedom.

According to journalist Anabel Hernandez, “Vicentillo” negotiated his sentence with the US authorities, after agreeing to provide information for the capture of Mexican drug lords and being a key witness in the trial against Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzman.