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Friday, December 30, 2011

Immunity Deal between U.S. and Sinaloa Cartel?

The layers on the Fast and Furious onion continue to get peeled back, one at a time. The latest is a charge by a drug trafficking defendant who is claiming that Sinaloa drug cartel leaders were given immunity in exchange for information on rival gangs.

Via CNS News:
A Mexican drug trafficker awaiting trial in a Chicago federal court claims that the notorious Sinaloa cartel received weapons from “Operation Fast and Furious” under an alleged immunity agreement that the U.S. government made with cartel leaders, in exchange for information on rival gangs.

The defendant in a trafficking case before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Vicente Jesus Zambada-Niebla, also claims the immunity deal allowed the criminal cartel to “continue to smuggle tons of illicit drugs” into the United States.

He wants the U.S. government to provide documents relating to the botched gun running sting operation along the southwest border, arguing that it would benefit his defense.
The defendant, Vicente Jesus Zambada-Niebla, makes the case that because the U.S. government sanctioned gun trafficking to the Sinaloa cartel, he should be granted some form of immunity as well, but there's a small problem. Our U.S. government is denying the allegation has merit:
The defendant argued that he is protected from federal prosecution for trafficking drugs into the U.S. between 2004 and 2009 under an alleged immunity deal struck between the U.S. government and Sinaloa leaders.

According to court documents, Zambada-Niebla claims that the immunity deal provided the cartel’s leadership with “carte blanche to continue to smuggle tons of illicit drugs into Chicago and the rest of the United States” in exchange for information on rival drug cartels.

U.S. prosecutors deny the existence of such an immunity deal between the U.S. government and the cartel. 
Nevertheless, the U.S. government last September filed a motion to invoke the Classified Information Procedures Act, which is aimed at assuring that national security information stemming from criminal cases – such as details associated with CIA operations – are not leaked to the public during court proceedings.
As a drug trafficker, Zambada-Niebla would be in a position to know of any such immunity deal. Then again, he is a drug trafficker who could be using the Fast and Furious scandal to his advantage.

That said, these charges have been made by others.

In any event, this is another blow to Holder's DOJ and the Obama administration. The fact that Zambada-Niebla trafficked drugs to Chicago during Obama's tenure as a US Senator is interesting as well.

h/t Free Republic

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