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Old 11-21-2018, 11:46 AM
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Default El Chapo planned to smuggle narcotics inside jalapenos: testimony


El Chapo planned to smuggle narcotics inside jalapenos: testimony
By Emily Saul
November 20, 2018 | 6:41pm | Updated November 20, 2018 | 7:03pm

Cans of peppers that would have been used to hide drugs US Attorney's Office

Brooklyn federal prosecutors released photos and video on Tuesday that they say shows how drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman planned to smuggle narcotics stuffed into jalapenos across the Mexico-US border.

Former DEA agent Thomas Lenox took the stand at the accused kingpin’s drug-trafficking trial, where he recalled being summoned to Tijuana, Mexico, to inspect an unfinished tunnel in 1993.

The tunnel, Lenox testified, was hidden inside a compound on the Mexican side of the border, which sat just 50 feet from the official boundary line between Mexico and California.

The underground channel ran right underneath the border — 65 feet below the surface of the ground — and began to slope upward in the middle of an adjacent field some 1,500 feet away, the retired agent told the court.

While the billionaire drug lord is known for his fancy passageways — some hidden underneath everyday household items on hydraulic lifts — this tunnel was fairly crude and cramped, Lenox recalled.

“It was a very uncomfortable environment to be in,” he told jurors of the 4-foot-5-inch space, which was plagued by pools of water, “stale” air, and dim lighting.

The tunnel appeared to be aiming for a construction project in a California border town, he said.

Photos from the site show it was owned by a company called “Tia Anita,” which described itself as a “cannery and warehouse.”

Earlier Tuesday, Lenox testified that prior to the tunnel discovery, the DEA had intercepted a shipment of canned jalapenos in Tijuana from a fake company called “La Comadre.”

Jurors were given an empty pepper can to pass around.

Guzman became known as “El Rapido” — “the fast one” — in his early drug-trafficking days for the speed at which he could move cocaine across the border and into the United States.

While he relied heavily on tunnels, prosecutors have claimed he used other methods as well, including submarines, oil tankers and canned jalapenos.
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