As Joaquín Guzmán – aka El Chapo – stands trial in Brooklyn, many details are emerging about Mexico’s most infamous drug trafficker. Through his testimony, Alex Cifuentes, a Colombian trafficker, has given us a behind-the-scenes look at the man feared by some and revered by others. Earlier this week, Cifuentes broke down how El Chapo spent his days while in hiding deep in the mountains and how the kingpin hoped to direct a movie about his own life (which would be based off an autobiography), but how it never came to pass. But perhaps the most significant allegation is when Cifuentes took the stand on Tuesday and testified that Enrique Peña Nieto took a $100 million bribe from El Chapo.
During cross-examination, one of El Chapo’s lawyers, Jeffrey Lichtman, asked Cifuentes if the kingpin paid a $100 million bribe to EPN. “Yes,” said Cifuentes, who worked with El Chapo from 2007 to 2013.
Cifuentes has also revealed that it was EPN who first reached out to El Chapo in late 2012 – around the time he started his six-year term. He allegedly asked El Chapo for $250 million to call off a nationwide manhunt for him, which is when El Chapo made a counter offer of $100 million.
Here’s what you wanna know about yesterday’s explosive accusation that el Chapo gave a $100 million bribe to former Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto https://t.co/GI8OViWhIE
— Noah Hurowitz (@NoahHurowitz) January 16, 2019
“The message was that Mr. Guzmán didn’t have to stay in hiding,” Lichtman asked.
“Yes, that very thing is what Joaquin said to me,” he replied.
The lawyer then went onto read notes from an interview Cifuentes gave in 2016, where he talked about Calderón taking a bribe from one of El Chapo’s rivals in 2008. “I don’t recall this incident very well,” Cifuentes said when asked about Calderón. “Right now, I do not remember that.”
By Wednesday evening, a court filing that was unsealed would also tie a member of Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador’s 2006 presidential campaign to El Chapo, making him the third Mexican president implicated during the course of the trial.
According to The New York Times, this news didn’t make much of a ripple in Mexico. But it has shocked some and raised eyebrows among others. Check out a few reactions below.
The story about a Sinaloa cartel associate testifying that El Chapo paid fmr. Mexican prez Enrique Peña Nieto $100M sure is getting a lot of coverage. But interestingly enough, everytime a cartel member, leader or associate claims to have worked directly with the us gov: silence. https://t.co/QbmNXdaHVe
— BirdWorldist (@PatthewMallares) January 17, 2019
Well, if "El Chapo" really did pay off former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to the tune of $100 million, then he certainly failed to get his money's worth, since it was Peña's administration that hunted him down and arrested him. https://t.co/P2zVCYeKjd
— Donald Koelper (@Donald_from_HI) January 17, 2019
Se entiende qué Enrique Peña Nieto fue uno o el peor de los Presidentes en la historia de México. Pero realmente se le va a creer a un narcotraficante qué trabajo con El Chapo y diría lo qué sea por quedar bien. Insisto, EPN de lo peor, pero qué lo comprueben. ✌
— Antonio Jauregui (@Antonio64151200) January 17, 2019