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Hello from Day 32 of El Chapo's trial.

More testimony coming this morning from Lucero Sanchez, the mistress who was with Chapo when he escaped naked through a tunnel under his bathtub.

But there's more to her story. Lots more.

news.vice.com/en_us/article/… @vicenews
ICYMI: Here's what happened with El Chapo's naked escape through the hidden tunnel under his bathtub. This is where Lucero left off with her testimony last week.

Here's footage from the raid by the DEA and Mexican marines that forced Chapo to use his bathtub tunnel.

It shows the steel door that bought Chapo and Lucero enough time to escape, and the mechanism that opens the tub.

Back to Lucero and the info that wasn't mentioned last week during her testimony.

She was a state lawmaker in Sinaloa from 2013-16. It was a big scandal when she was caught trying to use a fake ID to visit Chapo in prison.

She was pregnant at the time.

Lucero maintains that she was a victim who became trapped in a relationship with Chapo.

Prosecutors have shown text messages where he appears to threaten her.

Both her sister and ex-husband were murdered in Sinaloa.

There's some evidence that suggests Lucero was very involved in the cartel.

Prosecutors accused her of laundering hundreds of thousands of dollars for Chapo.

She also allegedly reached to Chapo's sons about drugs after the bathtub tunnel escape.

Lucero's story is complicated. Even after she was caught up in her scandal w/ Chapo, other lawmakers in Sinaloa spoke up to defend her.

One said that her “only sin is having some sentimental involvement, you can say, with the wrong person."

One thing recurring theme is that Lucero is very sympathetic toward impoverished marijuana farmers in Sinaloa.

She testified about using Chapo's money to help the poorest of the poor. This article mentions her distributing food and groceries to them.

One big question is what happened with her arrest at the border.

Some reports say she was planning to go shopping. Others say she wanted to claim asylum for herself and her two kids.

Expect to hear more about that today.

Heading up to the courtroom, stay tuned for updates…
The next witness after Lucero is expected to be the government's last major cooperator: Dámaso López aka El Licenciado.

He's the one who orchestrated Chapo's epic prison escape through a mile-long tunnel. He's also mentioned in Episode 7 of our podcast.

Folks, you know it's going to be a good day at the trial: El Chapo just came into the courtroom wearing a red velvet smoking jacket with a red silk pocket square. It's quite the look. Very Hugh Hefner.
Lots of updates from this morning, but first it must be said: Chapo's outfit is even better than I first mentioned. He and his wife Emma Coronel are wearing matching red velvet blazers.
Lucero was on the witness stand most of the morning. Her story was told in my piece yesterday, but there were some key details about her upbringing that we just learned. Her life is really quite tragic.

Lucero is from Cosalá, a tiny town deep in the Sierra Madre mountains. She said the area is known for mining and farming, not drug trafficking. She grew up dirt poor. At age 8, she was selling empanadas on the side of the road to help support her family.
At age 10 Lucero was working in the fields harvesting corn tomatoes and cucumbers. She'd work all morning and go to school in the afternoon. By 14, she was enrolled in a teaching program and she worked as a teacher for small children. By 16, her life takes a turn for the worse.
At 16, Lucero entered a common-law marriage with a man from Tapichahua, Durango, an area in the Sierra Madre known for marijuana production. Lucero's new spouse was abusive. Her parents also physically abused her.
By 2011, Lucero was being wooed by Chapo. We still don't know exactly how they met, but she was a local beauty queen — just like Chapo's wife Emma. It's possible he heard about her and decided she would belong to him.
Chapo enlisted Lucero to buy marijuana for him in the mountains. She talked about how he tried to lowball the poor campesino farmers and pay just 250 pesos — about $35 — per kilo. She felt bad and offered them more. She also refused to let them sell to Chapo on credit.
Apparently in order to buy weed for Chapo, Lucero needed permission from another trafficker named Guero Trankas, who controlled the pot farms in that part of the Sierra Madre. The defense asked why if Chapo is such a kingpin, he needs to ask somebody's permission?
Another fucked-up detail: Lucero never get paid by Chapo for her work collecting marijuana. She would buy weed for him at 500-650 pesos per kilo and he would sell it for two or three times that much in Culiacán.
Lucero said she tried to break away from Chapo at the end of 2012, but she was still with him in February 2014 during his naked escape through the bathtub. She offered some new details about that incident too, like how Chapo got clothes after he made it out of the sewers.
So Chapo is naked at the end of this sewer tunnel, which feeds into a drainage canal. Lucero: "While we were waiting there he was desperate. He was telling the guy, we have to steal a car so we can flee." Instead, they called Chapo's secretary, who came to pick them up.
Here's what the end of Chapo's escape tunnel looks like. We went there for the podcast. I'm about Chapo's height and had to hunch over to move around. They ran through this thing for over a kilometer, which must have been a nightmare. open.spotify.com/episode/738NnU…
Lucero admitted that she used a fake ID to visit Chapo in a maximum-security prison in 2014. She had denied this previously. Prosecutors showed the jury photos similar to these. It's her inside the prison — pregnant. She said they discussed "a personal matter."
We didn't get any more details about Lucero's arrest at the San Diego-Tijuana border crossing in 2016, except that she was tackled and injured when she tried to run back to Mexico. No clarity on what happened with her two children. No confirmation that Chapo is the father of one.
Federal prosecutors charged Lucero as if she were a drug kingpin. She faces 10 years to life in prison. She only pled guilty and agreed to cooperate a month before Chapo's trial started. She's basically collateral damage in the government's ques to convict Chapo.
Dámaso López is now testifying. So far we heard about how he was a sub-director at the prison where Chapo was held in 2001. He was corrupt and took bribes to get Chapo special privileges, like conjugal visits from his wife.
Dámaso is tall and wiry. He has gray hair and a bald spot. He seems arrogant. He also gave a little sign of respect to Chapo when he first took the witness stand, nodding his head and putting his right fist on his chest.
More updates on Damaso to come later this afternoon, he's still on the witness stand. Stay tuned.
Damaso just went through what was essentially a lightning round of questions about Chapo and the Sinaloa cartel. The prosecutor skipped around from topic to topic, covering smuggling routes, security, communications, Chapo's family, and more. It was dizzying.
Damaso's most damaging testimony was about corruption. He had two guys — Javi and Roberto — who were Chapo's liaisons w/ the Mexican army, federal police, attorney general's office, and marines. Javi paid out $100K per month in bribes. Roberto paid out over $1 million per month.
We saw text messages where Chapo and Damaso discuss their relationship with the mayor of La Paz in Baja California Sur. She was a candidate for governor in 2013 and wanted the cartel's help w/ her campaign. She asked them for the favor of assassinating a cop.
Chapo's message to Damaso re: the candidate for governor:

"Yes. She is the favorite and we should do her the favor. Maybe, like, when the cop is leaving his house as a revenge for some gangbanger. Don't be seen. Not with a rifle but with a pistol so it doesn't look violent."
Other messages between Damaso and Chapo referenced kilos of chemicals used to process and cut cocaine. He said the cartel was experimenting with "synthetic cocaine" — whatever that means. They brought in Colombian chemists to make it for them.
More testimony from Damaso happening now. Stay tuned for updates.
It was a bloody afternoon at El Chapo's trial.

Damaso Lopez testified about at least four murders committed on Chapo's orders, including how the body of Chapo's cousin Juancho was dumped on the side of the road.

We also saw a clip from a gruesome interrogation video.
#BREAKING @vicenews: Prosecutors say the government could rest its case against El Chapo as soon as Thursday. The defense is expected to call its first witness next Monday. Still unclear whether El Chapo himself will testify.
This is the interrogation video that was shown today at El Chapo's trial.

The beaten and bloody man is Israel Rincon Martinez aka El Guacho.

Damaso Lopez said it was filmed at his ranch near Culiacán in 2008 with Chapo, Chapo's sons, and others present.
Damaso testified that Guacho had worked as a secretary for Chapo in the mountains. When the war broke out with the Beltrán-Leyvas, Guacho was accused of defecting and hiring gunmen to fight against his old boss. In the video, Guacho is asked repeatedly about his allegiances.
Damaso said that Chapo got a tip about Guacho being in Culiacán and "ordered him lifted." He was brought to a warehouse on Damaso's ranch where the interrogation occurred. Damaso said Chapo himself asked questions, but the voice on the video belongs to a guy named Javi.
Damaso on Chapo's role in Guacho's interrogation: "He would ask if there were gunmen in Culiacán, whether he had located some targets."

Damaso said he heard Guacho was later killed. When asked who told him that, he replied: "My compadre." That's how he refers to Chapo.
Damaso also testified that Chapo ordered the killing of his cousin Juan Guzman Rocha aka Juancho or Virgo in December 2011.

We've heard references to this murder before, most notably from Lucero, but Damaso said he was present when Chapo decided to put out the hit.
Damaso said he and Chapo were at a ranch on the outskirts of Culiacan.

Chapo mentioned that Juancho was supposed to be out of town, but Damaso's said people had seen him around.

Chapo was pissed. He ordered his men to snatch Juancho off the street and bring him to the ranch.
Chapo's men arrived with Juancho, and Damaso recalled Chapo asking, "What is that rascal saying?"

Chapo's man replied: ""Compadre, he offered me a lot of money to let him go."

Damaso: "He ordered him to take him toward Culiacán and to kill him and leave him on the outskirts."
Juancho was with his secretary, Guero Bastidas.

According to Damaso, Chapo said the secretary knew everything about Juancho: "Therefore he had to suffer the same fate. They were both killed."

Here's a news article about the bodies being found.

Juancho was a key player in Chapo's organization — his name has been mentioned repeatedly as somebody who was trusted with coordinating cocaine shipments. He was also family. There has to be more to the story of his murder than Chapo finding out he lied about taking a vacation.
Here are the text messages where Damaso and El Chapo discuss assassinating a police officer for the corrupt mayor of La Paz, Baja California Sur

Here's a subtitled version of the Guacho interrogation video that was shown today in court.
Part 2 of the Guacho interrogation video w/ subtitles.
Here's a love letter than El Chapo sent to his mistress Lucero Sanchez from prison. He calls her "my queen" and references the plan to have her visit him with a fake ID.

My story on her @vicenews: news.vice.com/en_us/article/…
Still more testimony and evidence to share from today but need to leave the courthouse. Stay tuned for more updates.
This is Damaso Lopez aka El Licenciado, the witness this afternoon.

His testimony will continue tomorrow, but he likely won't be asked about his role in murder of legendary Mexican journalist Javier Valdez.

My story last month @vicenews:
news.vice.com/en_us/article/… #NoAlSilencio
For more on Damaso Lopez and the murder of Javier Valdez, listen to episode 7 of our podcast open.spotify.com/episode/41nsmK…
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