In this courtroom sketch Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, center, sits next to his defense attorney Eduardo Balazero, left, for opening statements as Guzman’s high-security trial gets underway in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. Guzman pleaded not guilty to charges that he amassed a multi-billion-dollar fortune smuggling tons of cocaine and other drugs in a vast supply chain that reached New York, New Jersey, Texas and elsewhere north of the border. The infamous Mexican drug lord has been held in solitary confinement since his extradition to the United States early last year. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

Woman, testifying against El Chapo, details affair

Lucero Guadalupe Sánchez López said she was visiting Joaquin Guzman at his hideouts in Cabo San Luca

Lucero Guadalupe Sánchez López was already trapped in an impossible extramarital relationship with Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman when she found herself in an even crazier bind — fleeing with Guzman and others from authorities through an underground tunnel, her outlaw love interest in the buff.

Guzman “was naked,” Sanchez said Thursday. “He took off running. He left us behind.”

The account of the mad dash in 2014 and Sanchez’s tortured romance with Guzman while he was on the run came at a U.S. drug trafficking trial that’s detailed his rise and fall as a near-mythical cartel boss. His lawyers say the allegations have been fabricated by co-operators seeking leniency in their own cases.

Sanchez, 29, a former local politician from Guzman’s home state of Sinaloa, took the witness stand in jail smocks after pleading guilty earlier this year to drug charges following her arrest last year. She told her tale with Guzman’s wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, sitting expressionless in the gallery.

The petite and soft-spoken witness said she met Guzman in 2010 and by 2011 was visiting him at his hideouts in Cabo San Lucas and elsewhere, and texting with him on cellphones protected by encryption he gave her. Over time, they began mixing business with pleasure that caused her distress, she said.

“Until this day, I’m confused because I thought we were in a romantic relationship,” she said toward the start of her testimony before she began sobbing and needed a break to compose herself. Later, she said of Guzman, “Sometimes I loved him and sometimes I didn’t.”

The trouble began when Guzman drafted Sanchez to purchase marijuana for him, with instructions to ready 400 kilograms (882 pounds) for each plane used to transport it from the countryside. Prosecutors showed the jury intercepted texts where the pair called each “love” as they plotted how best to move drugs, though some of Guzman’s messages sounded more menacing.

Sanchez said she would sometimes sweet talk Guzman “so he didn’t think I would rat him out. . I thought he could hurt me.”

The romance began to sour toward the end of 2012 but “seemed like it would never end,” Sanchez said, and when he invited her to one of the safe houses in the Sinaloa city of Culiacan in 2014, she automatically accepted.

At the time, a team of Mexican marines were hunting for Guzman, forcing him to leave the safehouse and move to another, she said. She went along and was spending the night with him when there was a commotion outside as one of his assistants blurted, “They’re on us.”

She testified that Guzman led her into a bathroom, where the bathtub was lifted with hydraulics to expose a fortified trap door leading to a dark, damp sewage tunnel. It led to a more remote part of the city, where they made their escape, she said.

She was asked how long she was in the tunnel. “Long enough to be traumatized,” she said, before her testimony ended for the day.

Shortly after the two apparently parted ways, Guzman was captured at a hotel in the resort town of Mazatlan where he had met up with his wife and young twin daughters. Earlier Thursday, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent who was there testified how the marines were in disbelief that they had bagged Mexico’s most wanted, who would still end up escaping a Mexican jail in 2016 before being recaptured for good.

“Is it him? Is it him?” DEA agent Victor Vazquez said the soldiers kept asking him. He testified he then looked at Guzman with wonder and said, “It’s you.”

Tom Hays, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

North Island Seniors Housing Foundation takes the next step towards getting Trustee Road land

Seniors rejoice, Port Hardy council is very much in favour of helping… Continue reading

Should aquaculture programs be offered at North Island College in Port Hardy?

“I think it would be very timely to have an aquaculture program”

Island Health issues press release regarding Port Alice Health Centre service changes

Island Health will be hosting a community meeting in Port Alice Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. in the rec centre.

Vancouver Island Regional Library wants to team up with the Town of Port McNeill to build a new multi-use facility

“A new library for the town, as you know, will quickly become an exciting hub of literacy”

And the snowiest community on Vancouver Island is…

Black Press reporters break out their tape measures to determine winter warrior bragging rights

Fashion Fridays: Up your beauty game

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Man in Vancouver Island hotel shooting pleads guilty to second-degree murder

Brandon Tyler Woody, from Victoria, to be sentenced in late March in B.C. Supreme Court

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Dog goes for a boat ride on Victoria Lake

The North Island Gazette wants your photographs, email them to editor@northislandgazette.com.

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Snow turns to slush, rain as it warms up across B.C.’s south coast

Some areas are already covered by more than half a metre of snow following three separate storms

Father to be charged with first-degree murder in Amber Alert case

11-year-old Riya Rajkumar was found dead in her father’s home in Brampton, Ontario

Police track armed kidnapping across Thompson-Okanagan

RCMP allege it was a targeted crime believed to be linked to the drug trade

St. Paul’s Hospital replacement slated to open in Vancouver in 2026

Announced many times, but this time there’s money, Adrian Dix says

Most Read