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Tucson attorney weighs in on Chapo Guzman’s trial

TUCSON – It is day two for jury deliberations in the trial of “El Chapo” Guzman in New York.

He’s accused of multiple drug charges, money laundering, and running a continuing criminal enterprise.

Chapo or Shorty is considered the most powerful drug traffickers in the world.  Forbes magazine once named him “Godfather of the drug world.”

Stephen Ralls, a Tucson attorney, has represented members of Chapo’s family in the past.  They also asked him to represent Chapo in New York.  Ralls declined.

However, he is currently representing one of Chapo’s alleged lieutenant’s in Detroit.  That’s where News 4 Tucson’s Lupita Murillo caught up to him via facetime.

Ralls told News 4 Tucson, there is a ton of evidence that has been brought up in the trial, so he estimates it will take jurors three to five days of deliberations.

The eight women, four man jury have spent three months listening to 56 witnesses.

Anthony Coulson is a retired Drug Enforcement Administration supervisor.  He worked on cases involving the Sinaloa Cartel and its leader.  He said Chapo Guzman is by far and probably the most powerful criminal in the world.

Among the 200 hours of testimony jurors heard was that of Colombian drug trafficker Juan Carlos Ramirez.  His face is now disfigured due to the numerous plastic surgeries he’s had to conceal his identity.  He told jurors he and Chapo had moved 400,000 kilos of cocaine during the 1990s.

Ralls said the defense knows that there’s a lot of exaggeration that takes place.  He knows there’s a lot of cocaine that’s involved, but that number sounded excessive.

Another witness talked about the drug billionaire and how he paid $100 million to a former Mexican president in 2012.

Others talked about corruption on every level of the Mexican government.

Ralls said the jurors are very smart and they will determine whether or not the evidence convinces them beyond a reasonable doubt.

The defense team has maintained Chapo was set up by El Mayo Zambada who bribed the Mexican government to frame El Chapo so he (Zambada) could continue running the Sinaloa Cartel.

The retired DEA agent added, Chapo ran a pretty slick international organization by far and away the most sophisticated largest criminal syndicate in the world that still exists.

Evidence by last week’s largest fentanyl drug seizure in the country.  Officials said the shipment belonged to the Sinaloa Cartel.

Ralls said, “If I was in Las Vegas I think the decision is going to come against him.”

Coulson added, “I hope the rest of his natural life he (Chapo Guzman) spends in a U.S. prison.”

Ralls is currently representing Marcos Paredes Machado of Agua Prieta.  It’s alleged he is responsible for smuggling tons of marijuana into the United States.




Caitlin Alexander

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