A former lawmaker in the Sinaloa state Congress testified in a New York court yesterday against her ex-lover, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.
Lucero Guadalupe Sánchez López is a 29-year-old former National Action Party deputy who was dubbed the “Chapodiputada” (diputada is Spanish for deputy) when stories of an amorous relationship first surfaced.
Now she faces 10 years to life in prison in the United States for trafficking cocaine and has agreed to testify for the prosecution in the hope of reducing her sentence.
Sánchez told the court that she met the ex-Sinaloa Cartel boss when she was 21 and became his mistress shortly after. When questioned about the nature of her relationship with the drug kingpin, she admitted she was bewildered.
“Well, I’m confused. Until today I thought we were a couple,” she said, provoking laughter from Guzmán’s wife, Emma Coronel, who was also in the courtroom.
El Chapo averted his gaze throughout his ex-lover’s testimony as she offered details of their relationship, which included business as well as pleasure.
She said he would send her to Durango, her home state, to purchase marijuana “with the three Bs of quality: buena, bonita y barata” [good, nice and cheap].”
She testified that she never received a peso for her work as El Chapo’s personal marijuana buyer, a job in which she eventually secured shipments of up to 400 kilograms on a regular basis.
On the stand, the ex-lawmaker portrayed herself as someone who feared El Chapo and referred to a text message in which her ex-lover explained to her that the cartel killed those who betrayed it. She told the court that at another point in their relationship she and Guzmán had lived together, during which time he did not allow her to leave the house.
In a strange turn, Sánchez confirmed rumors that she was with El Chapo when he eluded authorities in 2014, and told of an underground escape through a tunnel from Mexican marines.
Two years ago it was revealed that she had attempted to persuade fellow Sinaloa lawmakers to halt military operations in the Golden Triangle region, where Guzmán was believed to be hiding. She claimed soldiers were guilty of human rights violations, but failed to win her argument.
Sánchez was arrested when she crossed the border at San Diego a year and a half ago, and was charged with conspiracy to traffic cocaine.
Sánchez will continue to testify next Tuesday.
If convicted, Guzmán faces life in prison.