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@today_explained @vicenews A lot to unpack from Alex's testimony just now — he spoke about the escape tunnel in one of Chapo's homes in Culiacán, several kidnappings, a murder plot involving the Hell's Angels in Canada, and an attempt to payoff a Mexican general with a $10 million bribe. Just staggering.
@today_explained @vicenews Alex told one story from October 2012 about a boat voyage gone wrong from Mazatlan to Ecuador. Chapo sent him to take care of some business. There were six guys on a small sailing vessel. Alex was carrying $1 million cash in an icebox.
@vicenews Alex's boat broke down off the coast of Costa Rica. They were stranded, he said, until "the US Coast Guard rescued us." They alerted Chapo to what was happening and dumped everything over the side of the boat, including the cash in the icebox.
@vicenews Alex gave a fake name and said he was transferred to several boats. He eventually ended up back in Mexico: "Thanks to Don Joaquin and El Mayo, who had made some arrangements, we were released."

What arrangements?

"Bribes."
@vicenews Alex ended up at one of Chapo''s houses in Culiacan. It had a tunnel hidden under the bathtub. To open it, he said, you plugged something into an electrical outlet, then pushed a button behind the mirror. "The bathtub would open up as quickly as if it were the trunk of a car."
@vicenews Chapo's bathtub tunnel connected to the sewer system underneath the streets of Culiacan. We visited this house and went inside the end of the tunnel network for episode 6 our podcast. Listen: open.spotify.com/episode/738NnU…
@vicenews Alex said his secretary Andrea Velez ran a modeling agency in Mexico City. "She would introduce female friends to the general of the nation at private parties." He didn't ID the general, but said Chapo asked Andrea to offer this man a $10 million bribe "to leave him in peace."
@vicenews If the bribe was successful, Andrea would get a $1 million bonus. The man refused, Alex said, "because the general hated Joaquin very much." Afterward, Chapo accused Andrea of lying and ordered her to be killed. The hit was never carried out.
@vicenews Cross-examination of Alex Cifuentes starting now. Stay tuned for more updates.
@vicenews Cross-examination so far has been tense but relatively uneventful. Some colorful details coming out about Alex Cifuentes, like how he started helping his family process and package cocaine at their farm when he was 10 or 11 years old. It was his after school activity.
@vicenews Alex grew up in Medellin and said he looked up to Pablo Escobar when he was a teenager. Pablo's right-hand man would hang around the building were Alex's mother lived. This was exciting: "He had an office that had a bowling lane, and I liked to go bowling with his bodyguards."
@vicenews Some combative exchanges between Alex and Lichtman. Alex has his head cocked back and his looking down his nose while he testifies, refusing to concede even the smallest points, like the fact that his older brother was a drug trafficker. He described him as a "systems engineer."
@vicenews Lichtman is red-faced and almost shouting at times. He asked Alex repeatedly about carrying weapons, including grenades and assault rifles.

Alex responded: "I worked for Joaquin Guzman Loera"

Lichtman: "Another systems engineer?"

Alex: "Among others."
@vicenews Funny moment came when Lichtman asked Alex whether he considered himself a "successful drug dealer."

When Alex said no, Lichtman reminded him that he'd made a lot of trafficking drugs. He asked again, "Un poquito successful?"

Alex acknowledged that he had made "some millions."
@vicenews Some of the questions have seemed self-defeating. Lichtman got Alex to admit he was a "hardcore drug dealer" in 2009, then pointed out that he was living with Chapo at the time. When he inquired about a failed drug shipments, Alex replied, "You can ask your own client."
@vicenews Lichtman got Alex to concede that he has lied repeatedly over the years, even to his own family members.

Then he asked about Chapo. "Is he the only person you didn't lie about?"

Alex replied: "That's correct."
@vicenews Cross-examination expected to continue throughout the afternoon, stay tuned for updates.…
@vicenews #BREAKING @vicenews: Witness Alex Cifuentes just testified about bribes paid by El Chapo to former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto (@EPN). Testimony covered his past statements to US law enforcement, which included claims that EPN asked for $250M and that Chapo paid $100M.
@vicenews @EPN Chapo's $100 million bribe to EPN was allegedly delivered in October 2012 by a woman named Comadre Maria in Mexico City.
@vicenews @EPN #BREAKING @vicenews: More testimony just now about presidential corruption in Mexico. Alex Cifuentes told U.S. law enforcement in February 2016 that the Beltrán-Leyva organization paid Felipe Calderón (@FelipeCalderon) for protection against El Chapo and the Sinaloa cartel.
@vicenews @EPN @FelipeCalderon More on alleged Mexican corruption: According to Lichtman, Cifuentes previously told US authorities that a cartel operative named Andrea Velez-Fernandez sent “pictures of suitcases filled with cash” from a personal plane that belonged to JJ Rendón, a Mexican political consultant.
@vicenews @EPN @FelipeCalderon Cifuentes acknowledged receiving the photos, but said they were taken in Mexico City, not on the plane. Lichtman said that Cifuentes had claimed previously that “those suitcases full of cash were destined for President Peña Nieto.”
@vicenews @EPN @FelipeCalderon Lichtman also referred to a Nov. 2017 debriefing in which Cifuentes claimed “the president of Mexico had contacted” Chapo to tell him "he didn’t have to stay hidden.”

“That’s exactly what Mr. Guzmán said to me,” Cifuentes testified. “They wanted to work with him.”
@vicenews @EPN @FelipeCalderon I interviewed Felipe Calderón over the summer and asked him directly about allegations that his administration favored the Sinaloa cartel. Here's what he said. news.vice.com/en_us/article/… @vicenews
@vicenews @EPN @FelipeCalderon A portion of the interview with Felipe Calderón is also featured in episode 4 of our Chapo podcast open.spotify.com/episode/12wt47…
@vicenews @EPN @FelipeCalderon Story now live @vicenews. Here’s everything you need to know about the bombshell corruption allegations from El Chapo’s trial today: news.vice.com/en_us/article/…
@vicenews @EPN @FelipeCalderon Another corruption allegation from the trial today: Alex Cifuentes claimed El Chapo paid the Mexican military $10-12 million to capture and kill members of the Beltrán-Leyva organization.

news.vice.com/en_us/article/…
@vicenews @EPN @FelipeCalderon And one more: The Mexican federal police officers were allegedly collecting suitcases full of cocaine off the airport baggage claim for El Chapo

news.vice.com/en_us/article/…
@vicenews @EPN @FelipeCalderon We heard more today about the possibility that Chapo could take the stand to testify in his own defense. Lichtman said Chapo been added to a list of potential defense witnesses. That doesn't mean it's for sure going to happen, but it does leave the door open. It would be madness.
@vicenews Normally, defense lawyers don't let their clients testify at their own trial because it opens them up to perjury or self-incrimination on cross-examination. But nothing about the Chapo trial is normal. He basically has nothing to lose at this point.
@vicenews Chapo is probably itching to tell his side of this story. He's been forced to sit silently while his former friends and business partners testify against him. Judging by his reactions, he's been agitated by some of the testimony and wants a chance to set the record straight.
@vicenews It's also likely that Chapo wants to be the star of his own show. We've heard about how he tried to write a book and a direct a movie about his life story. Taking the stand at his own trial would be one hell of a final act.
@vicenews Here's a sidebar conference from today that explains why Chapo's lawyer is asking a witness about Chapo paying millions in bribes to Enrique Peña Nieto.

It's not about the corruption. It's about the witness changing his story, which suggests he's unreliable.
@vicenews Calderón responds to the corruption allegations at El Chapo's trial…
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