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Jan 4, 2019

Son of Wanted Mexican Drug Lord Names Belize in Sinaloa Cartel Empire

Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman

Belize is named as part of the network of the Sinaloa Drug cartel. It came during the trial of Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, head of the infamous drug cartel, which is underway in the United States.  The elusive leader, Mexico’s top drug kingpin, escaped from a maximum-security prison in July, 2015 and was recaptured on January eighth, 2016.  Since his extradition to New York a year later, El Chapo faces a battery of charges, including drug trafficking with intent to distribute, conspiracy association, organized crime against health, money laundering, homicide and illegal possession of firearms.  Vicente Zambada is the son of Ismael Zambada Garcia, also one of the organization’s leaders.  Vicente is presently incarcerated in the United States and on Thursday, the so-called cartel prince went against the grain by providing detailed testimony on the operations of the drug-trafficking empire.

Vicente Zambada

Those specifics cover smuggling routes, money-laundering schemes and personal vendettas, among other particulars.  During his time on the witness stand, Zambada glossed over the extent of the cartel’s activities in Belize and Honduras. Now, there have been frequent drug plane landings in the north and south of Belize so News Five contacted the Ministry of National Security earlier today for comment and Chief Executive Officer George Lovell spoke briefly on the information contained in a recently published New York Times article, as well as Belize’s efforts at fighting drug trafficking and transnational crimes.


On the Phone: (Ret.) Col. George Lovell, C.E.O., Ministry of National Security

“If I am to comment though on the article itself which appears in that New York Times newspaper, unfortunately it does not give any sort of details about the purported drug lord’s operation in Belize, nor that of his suppliers, distributors, their associates or facilitators.  So I cannot comment on what has been published so far in the New York Times.  I also note from the article that Vicente Zambada was arrested in 2009 and extradited to Chicago.  He pleaded guilty to drug trafficking in 2013 and has since been incarcerated in the United States.  So from all indications what he is providing to the jurors is clearly not recent occurrences of the cartels drug operations.  While we can assume that the plane landings that we have been having in Belize and other drug-related activities have international connections, there is no evidence at this time, and I say at this time that we can, beyond a shadow of a doubt, say there are named individuals, people who you can name, or groups, or cartels that you can actually put a name to that have been or even are currently carrying out illicit narcotics operations in Belize.  But we do know that there are illicit operations that are occurring where we have plane landings, there have been several of these plane landings and we are in fact, working closely with our U.S. counterparts, the DEA, Drug Enforcement Agency, to try and stem the narcotics, the illicit narcotics operations that occur here in our country.  I can tell you that they have been working closely with us and some recent successes that we’ve had was as a result of the joint collaboration that we are experiencing with them.  So whatever Vicente Zambada may have said to the jurors, I am hoping that if there is any evidence that will derive from what he has given to them, that our friends would be able to share that with us within means, because they can’t just get things and give it to us just like that.  For us to be able to prosecute anyone here in Belize that’s what will be required.  But yes, we are doing all we can to try and stem that illicit flow which we see on a very regular basis occur in our country.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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