A star government witness at the New York trial of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is being sentenced in Chicago, where prosecutors are seeking extraordinary leniency for the former cartel lieutenant-turned-U.S. government cooperator.
Vicente Zambada would be looking at a sentence of life in prison Thursday if not for his testimony last year against Guzman and his 10 years spilling secrets about the inner working of the Sinaloa cartel that prosecutors say led to charges against over 100 people.
Prosecutors last week recommended a 17-year sentence for the 44-year-old former chief of Sinaloa logistics. With credit for time served, Zambada could go free in under seven years.
He’s the son of another Sinaloa kingpin, Ismael Zambada. Prosecutors say he tried to withdraw from his father’s illegal business but kept getting sucked back in.