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During the ongoing trial of cartel boss Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, a star witness has alleged that Mexico's former security chief was bribed with millions of dollars. Star witness Jesús Reynaldo "El Rey" Zambada García, in his final day of testimony Tuesday, also alleged that a similarly large bribe was given to a "top aid" to President Andres Manuel López Obrador.
Gabriel Regino is alleged to have received "a few million dollars" in 2005 when he worked as undersecretary of public security for the incoming president, per Rolling Stone. At the time, López Obrador was serving as mayor of Mexico City and a candidate in the 2006 presidential election.
An additional bribe of "at least $6 million" was allegedly given to then-federal security chief Genaro García Luna. The witness alleged that cash payments were arranged between 2005 and 2007 and were part of cartel leaders' push to buy García Luna's protection, according to the Associated Press.
Both García Luna and Gabriel Regino have since denied the claims.
As for that whole Sean Penn x Rolling Stone development circa 2016, that too has already been mentioned in the legal proceedings. The widely debated interview was reportedly made possible, in part, due to El Chapo's own desire to have a book and movie made about himself.
El Chapo is at the center of a 17-count indictment alleging, among other things, involvement in multiple murders. He entered a not guilty plea in January 2017. When the trial kicked off earlier this month, El Chapo made a formal request to embrace wife Emma Coronel Aispuro. That request was ultimately denied.