New York – A New York judge sentenced Thursday to seven years in jail to Tirso Martínez, a Mexican who supervised drug trafficking by train from Mexico to the United States for Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.
Martinez, who worked for the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels from 1995 to 2003, was an important witness for the U.S. government in the Guzman trial in 2018.
The Mexican will spend only three more years in prison, as Judge Brian Cogan said at the hearing held at the federal court in Brooklyn that he counts as completed in his sentence the four that Martinez has already imprisoned.RELATED
Martinez, 52, nicknamed “El Futbolista” because he bought football teams with the money he earned from drug trafficking, testified in many details in the Guzman trial, telling the story of his life and the day-to-day work of the drug cartels.
The Mexican said he was supervising a train route that took 30 to 50 tons of cocaine from Mexico to cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Martinez, who described himself as an ex-alcoholic and excocainomano who can’t read well because he dropped out of school at age 13, talked about his work for Vicente Carrillo, aka “Viceroy,” former leader of the Juarez cartel. Martínez wanted to work for Guzmán for a long time, but when he asked him to help him transport a drug shipment at the end of 2001, Martinez became nervous.
“I was scared. I was between a rock and a hard place because I coordinated everything with Vicente Carrillo,” Martinez said. At that time, the Carrillo Fuentes worked with the Sinaloa de Guzmán cartel, but tensions between the two began to emanate. The witness said he did that and other drug transports for Guzman.
Despite being born and raised poor in Guadalajara, Martinez rose in the world of drug trafficking and, at an average level, he managed to earn millions of dollars of which, he said, lost between two and three million in cockfights.
He explained that one of the most tense moments of his life was when, in 2001, another leader of the Sinaloa cartel, Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, put a gun to his head after accusing him of having exchanged good cocaine for bad in a cargo of more than 300 kilos.
“He told me ‘I don’t kill him because my godson (Vicente Carrillo) told me not to do anything to him’,” Martínez said, citing “El Mayo”.
“Short legs” was the nickname Martínez and Carrillo used to refer to “El Chapo,” Martínez testified, who came to have plastic surgery on his face to avoid being recognized by the authorities.
Martinez was arrested in 2014 and testified that he was extradited to the United States in 2015. He pleaded guilty to drug trafficking.