Sinaloa Cartel’s Alfredo Vásquez-Hernández Sentenced to 22 years in U.S. Prison

By Dialogo
November 27, 2014



Alfredo Vásquez-Hernández and Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán grew up as childhood friends in Mexico’s Sinaloa state. Both joined the Sinaloa Cartel, and rose through the ranks; El Chapo became the transnational criminal organization’s kingpin, and Vásquez-Hernández became one of his closest lieutenants, entrusted with coordinating hundreds of tons of narcotics shipments into the U.S.

Now, they may never see each other again. El Chapo is imprisoned in Mexico after security forces captured him in February. Meanwhile, on November 24, a federal judge in the U.S. city of Chicago sentenced Vásquez-Hernández to 22 years in prison for drug trafficking. There is no parole in the U.S. federal prison system, which means Vásquez-Hernández must serve at least 85 percent of his term, which would be nearly 19 years.

The sentence makes Vásquez-Hernández the highest-ranking Sinaloa Cartel member to ever be sentenced on U.S. soil. He pleaded guilty in April to one count of conspiracy to distribute narcotics in a single, 276-kilogram cocaine shipment from Mexico to Chicago by train.

“We are tired, tired of drug trafficking, and it continues to hurt this city and this country,” U.S. District Chief Judge Ruben Castillo said when handing down the sentence. “A strong message needs to go out.”

Security forces captured Vásquez-Hernández in Mexico in 2011. Law enforcement officials extradited him to the United States, where he was charged with being part of large drug trafficking enterprise which transported heroin and other drugs from Mexico to Chicago.

During the hearing in which he was sentenced, pleaded guilty, Vásquez-Hernández apologized publicly through a Spanish interpreter. “First of all I want to thank God because this is coming to an end. I ask for your forgiveness and to have pity on me. I accept responsibility for what I did. I'm sorry.”

Vásquez-Hernández coordinated the shipment with the help of Pedro and Margarito Flores, twin brothers who were key players in the drug trafficking conspiracy who are cooperating with federal prosecutors.

“Alfredo told me that he was a lifelong friend of Chapo's and was godfather to Chapo's son Alfredillo,” Pedro Flores said, according to court documents. “Alfredo told me that he handled logistics for Chapo.”

The Flores brothers, who were in charge of distributing cocaine and heroin throughout the U.S. and Canada on behalf of the Sinaloa Cartel, set up the deal for the 276-kilogram shipment with Vásquez-Hernández while working as informants for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).



Law enforcement agents obtained secret recordings of the Flores brothers and other evidence in 2008, which led to the indictments of Vásquez-Hernández and 10 other suspects, including El Chapo, Pedro and Margarito, in federal court in Chicago. Vásquez-Hernández was the first of the 11 to be sentenced.



According to the plea deal they reached in 2012, Pedro and Margarito will face between 10 and 16 years in prison when they are sentenced in December, though a specific date hasn't been made public.



The Flores brothers admitted to transporting to Mexico about $938 million (USD) generated by selling up to 2,000 kilograms of cocaine monthly between 2005-2008. The brothers said Vásquez-Hernández told them Chapo used Sinaloa-owned cargo planes that took clothing on “humanitarian” missions to Central and South America and returned to Mexico filled with cocaine.

“The planes would land at Mexico City International Airport and Chapo would then use his contacts to have the cocaine offloaded from the planes and get the cocaine out of the airport,” Margarito Flores said in a prepared statement contained in federal court documents.

The Flores brothers forfeited $3.6 million (USD) to the U.S. government, in addition to assets, which included more than $400,000 (USD) in jewelry, according to their plea agreements.

Vásquez-Hernández's wife allegedly helped her husband launder drug money, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Ferrara said in court on November 24, but no charges have been filed against her.

Another high-ranking Sinaloa Cartel operative, Jesús Vicente Zambada Niebla, has also pleaded guilty. Security forces captured him in Mexico in 2009, and law enforcement officers extradited him to the United States in 2010. In Chicago, he pleaded guilty during April 2013 to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and heroin. He is now reportedly cooperating with federal prosecutors. His sentencing date has not been announced.

Costa Rican National Police arrests 3 in connection with 573-kilogram seizure of cocaine


The Costa Rican National Police had good timing.

Two National Police officers arrived during what appeared to be a drug bust by two law enforcement officers – one representing the National Police and the other a member of the country's Drug Control Police (PCD) – on the morning of November 24.

The latter “officers” had just stopped three trucks and were handcuffing the drivers when the real police officers noticed something out of place: the imposters were traveling in a Honda Civic, not a government vehicle.

The two real National Police officers contacted the PCD, whose sniffer dogs found 573 kilograms of cocaine hidden in one of the trucks.

The two fake police officers who were taken into custody have only been identified publicly as Hondurans with the last names of Cordero and Álvarez. Police arrested the driver of the truck containing the cocaine. Law enforcement officials identified him as a 25-year-old Honduran with the last name Vásquez, who had entered Costa Rica from Panama on November 19.

Costa Rican security forces have seized a high volume of drugs in 2014. The country’s Judicial Investigation Organization (OIJ) and PCD have confiscated 22.5 metric tons of cocaine, Public Security Minister Celso Gamboa said on November 10.


Alfredo Vásquez-Hernández and Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán grew up as childhood friends in Mexico’s Sinaloa state. Both joined the Sinaloa Cartel, and rose through the ranks; El Chapo became the transnational criminal organization’s kingpin, and Vásquez-Hernández became one of his closest lieutenants, entrusted with coordinating hundreds of tons of narcotics shipments into the U.S.

Now, they may never see each other again. El Chapo is imprisoned in Mexico after security forces captured him in February. Meanwhile, on November 24, a federal judge in the U.S. city of Chicago sentenced Vásquez-Hernández to 22 years in prison for drug trafficking. There is no parole in the U.S. federal prison system, which means Vásquez-Hernández must serve at least 85 percent of his term, which would be nearly 19 years.

The sentence makes Vásquez-Hernández the highest-ranking Sinaloa Cartel member to ever be sentenced on U.S. soil. He pleaded guilty in April to one count of conspiracy to distribute narcotics in a single, 276-kilogram cocaine shipment from Mexico to Chicago by train.

“We are tired, tired of drug trafficking, and it continues to hurt this city and this country,” U.S. District Chief Judge Ruben Castillo said when handing down the sentence. “A strong message needs to go out.”

Security forces captured Vásquez-Hernández in Mexico in 2011. Law enforcement officials extradited him to the United States, where he was charged with being part of large drug trafficking enterprise which transported heroin and other drugs from Mexico to Chicago.

During the hearing in which he was sentenced, pleaded guilty, Vásquez-Hernández apologized publicly through a Spanish interpreter. “First of all I want to thank God because this is coming to an end. I ask for your forgiveness and to have pity on me. I accept responsibility for what I did. I'm sorry.”

Vásquez-Hernández coordinated the shipment with the help of Pedro and Margarito Flores, twin brothers who were key players in the drug trafficking conspiracy who are cooperating with federal prosecutors.

“Alfredo told me that he was a lifelong friend of Chapo's and was godfather to Chapo's son Alfredillo,” Pedro Flores said, according to court documents. “Alfredo told me that he handled logistics for Chapo.”

The Flores brothers, who were in charge of distributing cocaine and heroin throughout the U.S. and Canada on behalf of the Sinaloa Cartel, set up the deal for the 276-kilogram shipment with Vásquez-Hernández while working as informants for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).



Law enforcement agents obtained secret recordings of the Flores brothers and other evidence in 2008, which led to the indictments of Vásquez-Hernández and 10 other suspects, including El Chapo, Pedro and Margarito, in federal court in Chicago. Vásquez-Hernández was the first of the 11 to be sentenced.



According to the plea deal they reached in 2012, Pedro and Margarito will face between 10 and 16 years in prison when they are sentenced in December, though a specific date hasn't been made public.



The Flores brothers admitted to transporting to Mexico about $938 million (USD) generated by selling up to 2,000 kilograms of cocaine monthly between 2005-2008. The brothers said Vásquez-Hernández told them Chapo used Sinaloa-owned cargo planes that took clothing on “humanitarian” missions to Central and South America and returned to Mexico filled with cocaine.

“The planes would land at Mexico City International Airport and Chapo would then use his contacts to have the cocaine offloaded from the planes and get the cocaine out of the airport,” Margarito Flores said in a prepared statement contained in federal court documents.

The Flores brothers forfeited $3.6 million (USD) to the U.S. government, in addition to assets, which included more than $400,000 (USD) in jewelry, according to their plea agreements.

Vásquez-Hernández's wife allegedly helped her husband launder drug money, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Ferrara said in court on November 24, but no charges have been filed against her.

Another high-ranking Sinaloa Cartel operative, Jesús Vicente Zambada Niebla, has also pleaded guilty. Security forces captured him in Mexico in 2009, and law enforcement officers extradited him to the United States in 2010. In Chicago, he pleaded guilty during April 2013 to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and heroin. He is now reportedly cooperating with federal prosecutors. His sentencing date has not been announced.

Costa Rican National Police arrests 3 in connection with 573-kilogram seizure of cocaine


The Costa Rican National Police had good timing.

Two National Police officers arrived during what appeared to be a drug bust by two law enforcement officers – one representing the National Police and the other a member of the country's Drug Control Police (PCD) – on the morning of November 24.

The latter “officers” had just stopped three trucks and were handcuffing the drivers when the real police officers noticed something out of place: the imposters were traveling in a Honda Civic, not a government vehicle.

The two real National Police officers contacted the PCD, whose sniffer dogs found 573 kilograms of cocaine hidden in one of the trucks.

The two fake police officers who were taken into custody have only been identified publicly as Hondurans with the last names of Cordero and Álvarez. Police arrested the driver of the truck containing the cocaine. Law enforcement officials identified him as a 25-year-old Honduran with the last name Vásquez, who had entered Costa Rica from Panama on November 19.

Costa Rican security forces have seized a high volume of drugs in 2014. The country’s Judicial Investigation Organization (OIJ) and PCD have confiscated 22.5 metric tons of cocaine, Public Security Minister Celso Gamboa said on November 10.
22 yrs ,, 22 yrs ??? Is that REALLY how hard we want to send a message.. These people supply all of the cocaine that puts or brothers and sisters in jail for life. They lead millions of people into horrible addictions, deadly addictions that kill kids, families and thousands of other crimes and they get 22 yrs... Thats what I call Losing the WAR ON DRUGS.. Pitiful, embarrassing as an American
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