NEW YORK — On Tuesday Dec. 18, Chicago-born cocaine trafficker Pedro Flores told a spellbound jury that accused Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán supplied him with tons of narcotics that he distributed to cities across the U.S.
Baring secrets of Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel, Flores depicted Guzmán as a gun-toting boss who at least once gave an apparent order to execute an underling — all as Guzmán watched and listened from a seat across the Brooklyn federal courtroom.
After drug seizures, violence and mishaps working with other drug suppliers, Flores said he and his twin brother, Margarito, boosted their profits by expanding their operation to distribute cocaine from Guzmán and another Sinaloa cartel boss in 2005.
Over the next three years, the Mexico-to-U.S. smuggling routes and Flores’ distribution system moved multi-kilo loads of cocaine and other drugs to Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Detroit, and Louisville, plus Vancouver, Canada, the self-confessed trafficker testified.
“The farther you get from the (Mexico) border the higher the profit,” said Flores, adding that a kilogram of cocaine would sell for $20,000 in New York City, ten times the price in locations farther south.
Flores is the first prosecution witness to provide a detailed look at the sophisticated drug overview of the sophisticated U.S. distribution system, an operation that could result in a life term in prison for the alleged supplier he referred to as “The Man” — Guzmán.
Continuing testimony this week from the 37-year-old witness is expected to feature wiretapped calls of Guzmán discussing cocaine shipments. Flores ultimately turned himself in to U.S. authorities in 2008, becoming a cooperating government witness against Guzmán and others.