El Chapo's Ex-Bodyguard Gives Graphic Testimony

He tells court he saw drug lord kill 3 men
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 25, 2019 7:01 AM CST
El Chapo's Ex-Bodyguard Gives Graphic Testimony
In this undated photo provided by the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Isaias Valdez Rios, is shown. .   (United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York via AP)

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was the kind of boss who wasn't afraid to pitch in and get his hands bloody, a former bodyguard testified Thursday at the drug lord's trial in New York. In what the BBC describes at the trial's most gruesome testimony yet, Isaias Valdez Rios recounted how the Sinaloa cartel boss tortured three members of rival cartels before shooting them dead. Valdez said Guzman beat two members of the Zetas cartel for hours until they "were completely like rag dolls—their bones were totally broken. They could not move." He said the men were then driven to a bonfire where Guzman cursed them, shot them in the head, and told his henchmen to throw the bodies in the fire.

Another victim suffered an even worse fate, Valdez testified. He said the victim, a member of the Arellano Felix cartel, had been severely tortured with an iron and a lighter before he was brought to Guzman, the AP reports. Valdez testified that Guzman locked the man in a shed for a couple of days then brought him, bound and blindfolded, to a graveyard. The drug lord then interrogated the man and shot him. Valdez said the man was "still gasping for air" as he was dropped in a hole and buried alive. The former bodyguard, a 39-year-old veteran of Mexico's special forces, has been in a US jail since his arrest on drug trafficking charges in 2014. (On Wednesday, another former Guzman employee testified that the kingpin's wife, who has attended the trial, helped plan his escape.)

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