NEW YORK: An former mistress of Mexican crime boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman testified Thursday that the cartel leader lured her into a life as a drug trafficker, shifting hundreds of kilos of marijuana a time on planes.
“Until today I was confused because I thought it was a romantic relationship,” Lucero Guadalupe Sanchez Lopez, 29, told the New York City court where Guzman faces trafficking, firearms and money laundering charges.
Sanchez, who was arrested in 2017 crossing from Mexico into San Diego and stands accused of conspiring to traffic cocaine, told the jury she met Guzman when she was 21.
He sent her to work the “Golden Triangle” along the Durango, Sinaloa and Chihuahua Mexican state borders, buying “good, beautiful and cheap” marijuana, Sanchez said.
She would then load airplanes with up to 400 kilograms (900 pounds) of the drug. Sanchez said she never received payment for her work.
She said her relationship with Guzman, 61, who is known for maintaining romantic relationships with four or five different women at a time, began in February 2011.
The kingpin’s wife, Emma Coronel, was pregnant with the couple’s twins.
The prosecution said Sanchez and Guzman discussed her marijuana transactions through encrypted messages and referred to each other as “Lovely” or “M” in text messages they exchanged on Blackberries that they switched out every few weeks.
Sanchez said she was afraid Guzman would hurt her.
“The mafia kills people who don’t pay or who snitch, but not those who are serious,” he wrote to her.
Sanchez faces 10 years to life in prison but is hoping for a reduced sentence for her cooperation with the prosecution.
Guzman, who is accused of trafficking more than 155 tons worth of drugs to the US, could be sentenced to life in prison if found guilty.