Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman drugged and raped underage victims of sex trafficking as young as 13 years old, according to testimony from an associate of the drug lord in his ongoing criminal trial.
The previously sealed court filings that contained the testimony of Chapo associate and drug trafficker Alex Cifuentes said that the kingpin arranged to have young girls brought to him. He reportedly called the youngest girls "vitamins" because they gave him "life."
The testimony was never entered into the case against Guzman. The government convinced Judge Brian M. Cogan to bar the information from being heard by jurors, stating that it was "irrelevant" to the charges against Guzman. Because Cifuentes took part in the drugging and raping of several of the victims, prosecutors were worried that it would color the jury's acceptance of his other testimony.
"Salacious testimony about a witness’s sexual activity with minors is likely to be highly inflammatory, and it would invite the jury to improperly discount [Cifuentes'] testimony by ‘suggest[ing] decision on an improper bias, commonly, though not necessarily, an emotional one,’” prosecutors argued in their motion to suppress that portion of his testimony.
El Chapo denied the allegations through his lawyers according to Rolling Stone. Defense attorney Angel Eduardo Balarezo said that the charges leveled by Cifuentes had not been corroborated. Prosecutors countered that the claims were corroborated but did not reveal which witnesses seconded the narrative.
The testimony was unsealed by Cogan in response to a motion from lawyers representing the New York Times and Vice.
Jurors will begin deliberating the case against Chapo on Monday. He stands accused of 17 counts, including drug trafficking with intent to distribute, conspiracy, money laundering, homicide, illegal possession of firearms, kidnapping and murder.