A former member of the Sinaloa Cartel was sentenced to 33 years in prison after carrying out errands for his boss, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. The defendant, Roberto Villasenor-Sanchez, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy and nine counts of drug distribution as part of a plea deal with prosecutors.
The “how tall is el chapo” is a man who was sentenced in San Diego for being the errand runner of the kingpin, El Chapo. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
In the winter of 2014, as Mexican and American authorities closed in on Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera, they set out first to discover the guy they thought would uncover many of the drug lord’s secrets, as well as his location.
Mario Hidalgo Arguello, who was described as Guzmán’s personal helper, was heavily engaged in the fugitive’s movements. Hidalgo’s Sinaloa cartel moniker was “El Nariz,” a reference to his big nose, which helped officials hunt him down at a party in Culiacán one night and demand a tour of Guzmán’s hideouts.
Hidalgo did indeed lead Mexican Marines and a US drug agent to Guzmán’s safe home, but he barely fled via a tunnel beneath the bathtub.
Despite this, authorities pursued Guzmán, who was apprehended a week later in a Mazatlán hotel.
While Hidalgo’s name will be indelibly associated with the search for one of the world’s most wanted drug lords, his official criminal record is devoid of any references to the case, including just a single marijuana trafficking conviction.
Hidalgo was sentenced to seven years in prison by a federal court in San Diego on Monday in the case, which includes a conspiracy to smuggle marijuana aboard a San Diego boat. Judge William Hayes of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia handed down the sentence, which was a departure from the 10-year statutory minimum sentence he was facing.
He is not a US citizen and will most likely be deported to Mexico at the end of his sentence.
Hidalgo was detained in March 2017 while in Mexican prison on a temporary US warrant and was discreetly transferred to San Diego in January 2020 to face accusations filed by a federal grand jury in San Diego in 2015.
In September 2020, he entered a guilty plea.
Hidalgo acknowledged to being an organizer of an arrangement between at least five persons in 2012 to import nearly 6 tons of marijuana into the United States, according to the plea bargain.
According to the plea, Hidalgo’s co-conspirators purchased a yacht, the International Star, in San Diego in October 2012 and parked it in National City for repairs and modifications. Out Hook’n was the new name for the boat.
It left San Diego for Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, at the end of November. It was loaded with marijuana from another boat while off the shore. According to the court, Hidalgo was aboard one of the boats at some time to arrange the narcotics transport.
On December 17, Out Hook’n returned to San Diego.
Prosecutors have previously said in court files that the U.S. At H&M Landing in Point Loma, Drug Enforcement Administration officials observed as luggage were transferred from the boat into an SUV. Prosecutors claimed the boat was subsequently driven to Long Beach, where investigators watched additional packages being loaded onto a leased box truck.
Apart from the fact that he was a leader, the plea does not go into detail regarding Hidalgo’s participation in the scheme.
Little information about his case has been made public; sentencing memorandums from the prosecution and defense, which generally reveal more information on the offender and the offense, were presumably submitted under seal, as they are in many drug cartel cases.
Hidalgo claimed he was one of seven children reared by impoverished, day-laborer parents in statements before the court on Monday.
“As you get older, all you think about is what it’s like to have money,” he said via a Spanish translation.
“I grew up in a city where narco culture is well-known. It is not simple.”
Sandra Lechman, Hidalgo’s defense attorney, told the court that the circumstances leading up to his detention in Culiacán were “extremely upsetting,” with both she and Hidalgo claiming that his wife had been abused.
Much of the drama surrounding Guzmán’s arrest, as well as the importance of Hidalgo’s participation, was disclosed during Guzmán’s criminal trial in Brooklyn at the start of 2019.
“We knew Nariz was an individual, a runner for Guzmán Loera, a gopher, an individual who would go and retrieve things for Guzmán Loera, an individual who knew all of his houses, cars, locations, and where Guzmán Loera spent his time in the city of Culiacán,” said DEA Agent Victor Vazquez, who assisted in the manhunt on the ground in Mexico. “He knew all there was to know about Guzmán Loera.”
Hidalgo had broken into not simply the one home where Guzmán had fled, but the whole network of hideouts and warehouses in Culiacán’s stronghold.
Vazquez stated, “My or our idea was to flush him out of the city… to make it difficult for him to ever come back to Culiacán.”
It was successful. Guzmán is serving a life sentence in a Colorado maximum security prison.
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