Philippine Court Convicts Associate of Mexican Drug Kingpin ‘El Chapo’

Dennis Jay Santos
Davao, Philippines
190213-PH-chapo-1000.jpg Navy marines escort suspected Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to a helicopter in handcuffs, at a hangar in Mexico City, Feb. 22, 2014.

A Manila area court on Wednesday convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment a Mexican drug trafficker who worked for the world’s most infamous narcotics cartel, a criminal syndicate whose business spanned the globe, according to U.S. officials.

Philippine authorities said defendant Horacio Hernandez Herrera was a mid-level member of the Sinaloa Drug Cartel. Its notorious leader, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, was convicted by a U.S. federal court in New York City on Tuesday on charges of drug trafficking, money laundering, weapons possession and murder conspiracy, according to reports.

Selma Palacio Alaras, acting judge of Makati Region Trial Court Branch 63, ruled Wednesday that there was overwhelming evidence against Herrera, a Mexican national who was captured four years ago during a sting operation in Makati, the Philippine business district in Metro Manila.

“Against the overwhelming evidence of the prosecution, the accused merely denied the accusation against him,” the judge’s ruling said. “The court cannot give credence to his testimony as his defense was unsubstantiated with evidence.”

The judge noted that Herrera did not produce CCTV footage, which his lawyer was supposed to present in his defense.

Herrera arrived in Philippines in October 2013 and was working on illegal drug deals with a Chinese drug syndicate, when he was arrested by authorities in 2015.

When they arrested Herrera, Philippines Drug Enforcement Agency members recovered a stash of cocaine worth millions of dollars, authorities said, but Herrera accused the officers of planting the evidence.

Herrera said he would appeal the conviction.


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