Sentencing in Concord delayed for cousin of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman

Last modified: 7/13/2015 11:23:23 PM
A sentencing hearing for the cousin of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the infamous drug lord who tunneled out of a Mexican prison Saturday night, was postponed Monday in Concord, nine months after he admitted to helping try to expand the cartel’s reach into Europe and Northern New England.

After a brief closed-door meeting between attorneys and the judge, court officials announced that the proceeding would be delayed 45 days.

Jesus Manuel Gutierrez Guzman admitted last fall in federal court to conspiring with undercover FBI agents to distribute cocaine and other illegal drugs into the country. The agents, pretending to be part of a European crime syndicate, met repeatedly with Gutierrez Guzman through 2012, in New Hampshire and elsewhere, and had an informant meet with Guzman in the mountains of Sinaloa. In other meetings, Gutierrez Guzman presented himself as Guzman’s direct representative.

The cartel, which had been negotiating with agents since 2009, sent an initial 1,000-kilogram shipment to Spain in July 2012. It was quickly seized, and within hours Gutierrez Guzman and three other members of the cartel were detained.

Two of the others arrested have pleaded guilty to their part in the conspiracy. The fourth, Rafael Humberto Celaya Valenzuela, was convicted in October of conspiracy to distribute. His sentencing was postponed in May after defense lawyers challenged the jurisdiction.

Guzman was arrested in Mexico early last year after evading capture for more than a decade. Before his escape Saturday night – he reportedly slipped out on a retrofitted motorcycle stationed in a tunnel underneath his shower – several states, including New Hampshire, had requested his extradition on charges related to drug trafficking.

Gutierrez Guzman faces up to 20 years in prison. His lawyers have requested half that.

(Jeremy Blackman can be reached at 369-3319, or on Twitter @JBlackmanCM.)

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