New York- So far, the Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán trial in Brooklyn had focused on drugs, but on Tuesday they started talking about blood.
The Colombian drug dealer Juan Carlos Ramírez Abadía, better known as "El Chupeta" and former leader of the Cartel del Norte del Valle, described some of the murders that he ordered to commit against rivals, workers who suspected of treason or theft and officials who they investigated him. He spoke of families killed in cold blood, a retired lieutenant who shot himself in the face a meter away, murders in New York and New Jersey and internal wars in which 12 people could die in a gunfight in the afternoon.
"It is impossible to be the leader of a cartel in Colombia without violence", said Abadía coldly, whose face is disfigured due to plastic surgery operations to escape the police. "These people were a risk against my organization or against myself".
The Colombian explained the murders by answering the questions of Guzman's lawyers, who tried to prove to the jury that "El Chupeta" was a ruthless criminal willing to do anything to keep his power in the cartel. Abbey admitted last week to the process of ordering the death of about 150 people.
The lawyers of "El Chapo" also asked the Colombian his bribes, including payments of over ten million dollars that "El Chupeta" said he had "influenced the Congress (Colombian)" in the debate on the revocation of extraditions in the decade 1990. The witness also said that he paid half a million dollars to the election campaign of the then presidential candidate of Colombia, Ernesto Samper.
"El Chapo", former leader of the Sinaloa cartel and one of the best known drug traffickers, has pleaded not guilty to accusations of accumulating multimillion-dollar fortune through the traffic of tons of cocaine and other drugs from Mexico to the United States. If convicted, he would face a possible life sentence. His trial, now in the fourth week, could last another three months.
Judge Brian Cogan said Tuesday that he does not like Guzman's defense to force the description of the murders, so the jury does not like Abbey. The witness, for example, the lawyers of "El Chapo" asked him about the chainsaw he would have preferred to use in his murders to Ivan Urdinola, for whom Abadía worked on the poster.
At another time, William Purple, the attorney of "El Chapo", asked Abadía what "chupeta" means. This replied "sweet, candy, bonbon" with a smile.
The Colombian was arrested in Brazil in 2007 and extradited a year later in the United States, where he pleaded guilty. He is waiting to be convicted and could get a five-year sentence reduction for his collaboration with the prosecution, even if the exact reduction will be decided by a judge.
Tuesday was the third day of testimony of "El Chupeta", who narrated in the process the details of how he sent thousands of kilos of Colombian cocaine to the Sinaloa cartel from 1990 to 2007.
"El Chupeta" kept the books that were shown at the trial and where you can see all sorts of inflows and outflows of money, including the payment of thousands of dollars to murder murderers: $ 45,000 for the murder of three people, for example, and 338,776 for another massacre in which several murderers took part.
The murder of two women who were part of the investigative corps of the Colombian prosecutor's office was also mentioned. The poster of "El Chupeta" had killed the brother of one of them. Because of the investigation of both against the cartel they were killed on a road outside Cali.
Abadía also spoke of the murder of a lawyer named Pedro Arboleda, who worked for the cartel and was killed in a Cali bookstore because he would have talked too much when he was drunk.
In another case of bribes, "El Chupeta" said he distributed prostitutes, apartments and gifts to US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agents through the Colombian police.
The former Colombian lawyer, Germán Rosero, began his testimony during the trial on Tuesday afternoon and will continue on Wednesday.