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Leniency sought for lieutenant who turned on ‘El Chapo’

May 21, 2019

CHICAGO (AP) — Prosecutors in Chicago are asking a federal judge for leniency at sentencing next week for a former lieutenant to Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, describing his decade of cooperation with U.S. authorities as “extraordinary.”

Their filing late Monday recommends a 17-years prison term for Vicente Zambada, a star government witness at Guzman’s New York trial last year. With time served, Zambada could go free in under seven years.

The son of another Sinaloa kingpin, Ismael Zambada, Vicente Zambada once oversaw the smuggling of cartel drugs. Without his cooperation, he’d likely face a life sentence.

Prosecutors say Zambada tried to withdraw from his father’s trafficking business but kept getting sucked back in. They estimate secrets Zambada spilled to U.S. agents led to charges against more than 100 people.

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