Drivin’ that train on El Chapo’s cocaine supply chain: Witness

Written by Stuart Chirls, Senior Editor
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El Chapo in U.S. custody after his extradition from Mexico in 2017. Photo: Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Accused drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman used the North American rail network to move cocaine from Mexico to the United States for distribution.

At the federal drug trafficking trial in Brooklyn, informant Tirso Martinez Sanchez told jurors that after tank cars of cooking oil arrived in Mexico, Guzman, the diminutive head of the Sinaloa cartel, directed the cars to be drained and packaged kilos of cocaine hidden in secret compartments at the ends of the cars. An inch or two of oil was added for the trip north, to discourage Customs from crawling around inside the cars, and grease was smeared on the packets to throw off drug-sniffing dogs. The cars were then forwarded to a warehouse in New Jersey and transloaded to trucks for delivery to New York.

The tank cars netted the cartel $500 million to $800 million in cocaine sales from New York, Los Angeles and Chicago between 2000 and 2003, the 51-year-old informant testified.

Jurors were earlier told of Guzman’s love of trains, and how he traveled around a private zoo at his Guadalajara estate on a “little” locomotive.


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