Disturbing details of the crimes committed by Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman were revealed by a witness in the 11-week trial against him, according to court documents unsealed on Saturday.
Reportedly, a person referred to as “Commadre Maria” regularly sent Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Loera pictures of girls as young as 13, and the drug lord, along with his associates, paid as much as $5,000 for each minor.
Guzman, infamously known as El Chapo, allegedly raped young girls on multiple occasions at his ranches, and called the youngest among the victims his “vitamins” because he believed they gave him “life.”
The allegations come just two days before jurors in Guzmán’s drug-trafficking trial in New York are set to begin deliberations.
Guzman’s attorney, A Eduardo Balarezo, has called the allegations “extremely salacious.”
“Joaquín denies the allegations, which lack any corroboration and were deemed too prejudicial and unreliable to be admitted at trial,” Balarezo said in a statement, adding that it is “unfortunate that the material was publicly released just prior to the jury beginning deliberations.”
According to reports, testimonies have offered a deep look into the dark, sprawling empire of Sinaloa’s drug cartel that officials said funneled drugs into the US for more than two decades.
The testimonies also shed light on the cartel’s multiple assassinations, corrupt public officials who aided them and tunnels used for escapes and drug-smuggling operations.
The allegations came from a person identified as “Cooperating Witness No. 1” in court records, and as Alex Cifuentes in media reports — a former aide who testified that Guzmán bragged about paying former Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto a bribe of $100 million.
Cifuentes told officials that he lived with Guzmán from 2007 to 2008 and that they raped underage girls during that time.
The right-hand man further said he helped Guzmán drug the girls by adding a powdery substance in their drinks and that he had intercourse with teens as young as 15, according to court records.
According to Mexico’s penal code, sexual acts with minors younger than 15 are considered sexual abuse.
The documents were made public following letters from media organizations complaining of the trial’s secrecy.