Drug baron Cholo Iván, Chapo's right-hand man, faces life imprisonment in the U.S.
"Cholo Iván", extradited to the United States last weekend, was captured in 2016 in Mexico along with "Chapo", who was already sentenced to life imprisonment in 2019 by a New York court
April 5, 2023 8:41am
Updated: April 5, 2023 9:26am
Jorge Iván Gastélum, alias "El Cholo Iván", Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán's right-hand man, faces a drug trafficking charge that could sentence him to life imprisonment in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, the Justice Department reported Monday.
"El Cholo Iván," who was extradited to the United States last weekend, was initially captured in 2016 in Mexico along with "Chapo," who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2019 by United States District Judge Brian M. Cogan in the Eastern District of New York.
The one who once was the right hand of the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel could now follow in his footsteps. "El Cholo" faces an indictment before a court in the District of Columbia for conspiracy for drug trafficking that carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, as well as another 30 years for weapons-related offences.
The Justice Department reported that "El Cholo Iván" appeared Monday, for the first time before a court in the U.S. capital.
Federal prosecutors have accused him of conspiring to produce and distribute cocaine and marijuana to the United States and of using firearms, including explosives, for his drug trafficking activities.
From 2009 until his capture in 2016, "El Cholo Iván", 42, was a high-ranking member of the Sinaloa Cartel, a criminal group led at the time by "El Chapo" and by Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, observed the Department of Justice in the statement.
"El Cholo Iván" was "one of the main hitmen" of the cartel, worked "in close collaboration" with "El Chapo" and served as the "municipal chief" of Guamúchil, where he had 200 armed men under his charge, according to US officials.
Based in Mexico, the Sinaloa Cartel distributes tons of cocaine and marijuana from Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, Panama, Costa Rica and Honduras to Mexico and then the United States, continues the Justice note.
"El Cholo Iván" helped "El Chapo" to flee on January 8, 2016 from an operation by federal forces carried out at a home in the town of Los Mochis, Sinaloa.
Both escaped through the sewer tunnels, but several hours later they resurfaced and stole a vehicle, which was intercepted by federal police on a highway, and both were captured.
While "El Chapo" was extradited to the United States in 2017 and sentenced in 2019, "El Cholo Iván" had remained in the custody of the Mexican authorities until now.