Mexican drug lord El Chapo described by witnesses as a pedophile: court papers

This Feb. 22, 2014 file photo shows Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the head of Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel, being escorted to a helicopter in Mexico City following his capture in the beach resort town of Mazatlan. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo, File)
Updated 03 February 2019

Mexican drug lord El Chapo described by witnesses as a pedophile: court papers

  • Guzman oversaw a drug-smuggling empire that flooded the US market with cocaine and made $14 billion off of it
  • WItness was quoted as saying Guzman had him drug girls as young as 13 before Guzman had sex with them

NEW YORK: Newly unsealed documents about notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman contains claims by witnesses that he had sex with minors he called “vitamins,” a disturbing allegation coming just as a jury is about to start deliberating in his US drug-trafficking case.
According to papers made public late Friday, a key government cooperator told authorities Guzman had him drug girls as young as 13 before Guzman had sex with them at one of his Mexican hideouts in the late 2000s.
On Saturday, one of Guzman’s lawyers called the accusations “extremely salacious” and questioned the timing of the government filing.
Guzman “denies the allegations, which lack any corroboration and were deemed too prejudicial and unreliable to be admitted at trial,” attorney Eduardo Balarezo said in a statement. “It is unfortunate that the material was publicly released just prior to the jury beginning deliberations.”
The jury is set to begin deliberations Monday after a nearly three-month trial on charges that as the head of the Sinaloa cartel, Guzman oversaw a drug-smuggling empire that flooded the US market with at least 200 tons (181 metric tons) of cocaine and made $14 billion off of it. The defense says cooperating witnesses have made Guzman a scapegoat for their own crimes.
The unsealing of the documents came at the request of The New York Times and Vice News. US District Judge Brian Cogan had ordered prosecutors to review the material — originally sealed because it was deemed unrelated to the drug charges — and make portions of it public within four days after the government rested its case against Guzman.
One document says Colombian drug trafficker Alex Cifuentes, while living with Guzman around 2007, told investigators someone known as Comadre Maria would offer photos of young girls to Guzman. For $5,000, the one of Guzman’s choice would be sent to a secluded Sinaloa ranch, Cifuentes said, according to the papers.
Guzman directed Cifuentes to put a “powdery substance” into the girls’ drinks before sex, said Cifuentes. Guzman “called the youngest of the girls his ‘vitamins’ because he believed that sexual activity with young girls gave him ‘life,’” he added.
Cifuentes also admitted having sex with minors but without drugging them. The document says other cooperating witnesses have backed up the claims about Guzman’s interactions with underage girls.
The cooperator told the government that he saw Guzman “consulting with a witch doctor from whom he obtained sake oils,” the papers said.
The documents also describe an interview with Guzman conducted by a Drug Enforcement Administration agent in 1998 at a Mexican prison where Guzman escaped two years later. They say he allegedly asked if he could avoid extradition to the United States if he provided information to the DEA about the drug-running operations of rival cartels.


Tradition, modernity mingle at Japanese Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shouts “banzai,” meaning “long live the emperor,” during the enthronement ceremony for Emperor Naruhito at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. (AFP)
Updated 22 October 2019

Tradition, modernity mingle at Japanese Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement

  • Ritual-bound, centuries-old ceremony takes places at Imperial Palace in Tokyo
  • Heads of state and officials from Japan and 180 countries among the attendees

TOKYO: It was a ceremony similar to coronations used by monarchs worldwide, but combining the historical and the spiritual with modernity. Japan’s Emperor Naruhito formally completed his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Oct. 22.
Purple curtains were drawn back to reveal Naruhito, 59, and Empress Masako, 55, standing before their imperial thrones as the enthronement ceremony began.
Wearing a dark orange robe, similar to that worn by his father Akihito at his own enthronement in 1990, Naruhito proclaimed his ascension from a 6.5 meter-high, canopied “Takamikura” throne.
Through the centuries-old ceremony, Naruhito declared himself Japan’s 126th emperor and vowed to “stand with the people” before roughly 2,000 guests, including heads of state and officials from Japan and more than 180 countries. Among the attendees were Japanese royal family members also wearing traditional robes.
In his congratulatory message to the emperor, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promised that the people of Japan would “respect (his) highness the emperor as the symbol of the state and of the unity of the Japanese people.” He then stood before Naruhito’s throne, bowed and raised his hands three times, shouting “banzai,” meaning “long live the emperor.”
Saudi Arabia was represented by Minister of State Prince Turki bin Mohammed bin Fahd bin Abdul Aziz, who conveyed greetings from King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the Japanese people.Saudi Ambassador to Japan Naif bin Marzouq Al-Fahadi, and other Saudi officials, were also present.

Japan’s Princess Mako attended the enthronement ceremony. (AFP)


The enthronement ceremony is a part of a succession of rituals that began in May when Naruhito inherited the throne, after Akihito became the first emperor to abdicate in 200 years.
As Naruhito ascended the throne, boxes containing items of imperial regalia, including an imperial sword and jewel, were presented to him.
“Having previously succeeded to the Imperial Throne in accordance with the constitution of Japan and the Special Measures Law on the Imperial House Law, I now … proclaim my enthronement to those at home and abroad,” the Japan Times newspaper quoted Naruhito as declaring.
“I pledge hereby that I shall act according to the constitution and fulfill my responsibility as the symbol of the state, and of the unity of the people of Japan, while always wishing for the happiness of the people and the peace of the world, turning my thoughts to the people and standing by them.” An imperial procession that was to take place after the ceremony was postponed after Typhoon Hagibis hit Tokyo earlier this month. On Nov. 10, the emperor and empress will take part in a procession through central Tokyo to the Akasaka Imperial Residence.
To mark the enthronement, the government has granted pardons to more than half a million people found guilty of petty crimes such as traffic violations.
In an article for Arab News, Shihoko Goto, deputy director for geoeconomics at the Asia Program of the US think tank the Wilson Center, asked a question she believes will be echoed by many in Japan: “Can the country carry on its historical legacy while embracing the opportunities of the 21st century? “The new imperial couple is likely to want to further Emperor Akihito’s legacy as a conduit for reconciliation.”