NEW YORK – If Miguel Angel Martinez had any doubt there was a bounty on his head from the Sinaloa cartel when he was thrown in a Mexican jail within the late 1990s, the taunting by his fellow inmates would have erased it.
“They began yelling at me, asking me what my shoe dimension was,” Martinez mentioned Wednesday on the U.S. trial of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
The inmates needed to get his footwear, he mentioned, as a result of of their minds, “I used to be really useless.”
READ MORE: ‘El Chapo’ a scapegoat for ‘actual’ drug lord who bribed Mexico’s president, says lawyer
Martinez, a former assistant to Guzman who’s now a prosecution witness, testified in dramatic element how he survived 4 makes an attempt on his life he claimed had been ordered by Guzman, one after an ominous serenade by a Mexican brass band.
The witness mentioned he by no means gave Guzman a purpose to need him useless. Nevertheless it was no thriller that Guzman, as considered one of Mexico’s most infamous kingpins, would have had purpose to need to silence potential turncoats.
The testimony got here within the third week of a trial at a New York Metropolis courthouse the place Guzman has pleaded not responsible to drug-trafficking expenses that would land him in a U.S. jail for all times if he’s convicted. His defence says he’s being framed by Martinez and different co-operators.
WATCH: El Chapo’s spouse arrives for husband’s trial
Martinez testified this week about he turned a loyal servant of Guzman, serving to him prepare the huge shipments of cocaine flown in from Colombia that made his boss a fortune. The 2 turned so shut, he mentioned, that Guzman was the godfather to his son.
Martinez advised the jury Wednesday that after Guzman landed in jail in 1993, he tried to take care of his buddy’s household and deal with his authorized charges. That was earlier than his personal arrest, which began a behind-bars nightmare.
Within the first jail in Mexico Metropolis the place he was locked up, he was cornered in his cell by different prisoners and stabbed 15 occasions, he mentioned. After he was launched from the hospital, he was returned to exact same cell – with the identical cellmates.
At evening, “I really heard them sprucing their knives, their blades,” he mentioned.
WATCH: Jury choice begins in federal trial of Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman
He survived a second knife assault earlier than he was transferred to a different jail, the place the curiosity in his shoe dimension made it clear there that anybody who killed him would get cash from the cartel, he mentioned. He was stabbed once more whereas making a telephone name, handled once more and put in solitary confinement for his safety.
One evening, Martinez mentioned, he heard a band exterior the jail taking part in a favorite “corrido” people tune of Guzman’s – “Un Puno De Tierra” – again and again, thought the evening. It was about dwelling life to the fullest as a result of “when you die, you possibly can’t take something with you,” he mentioned.
The subsequent morning, somebody armed with a pistol and a grenade appeared exterior his cell, he mentioned. The would-be murderer struggled with a guard who refused to open the cell earlier than tossing the grenade inside. He survived the explosion, he mentioned, by taking cowl within the cell’s lavatory.
READ MORE: Mexican drug kingpin ‘El Chapo’ pleads not responsible to US expenses
Martinez was ultimately extradited to the U.S., the place he pleaded responsible to drug expenses and started co-operating in different U.S. drug-smuggling circumstances to a level that earned him a lowered sentence, money funds and entry right into a witness safety program, he mentioned.
He advised he nonetheless fears Guzman and on the similar time, feels forsaken by him.
“I by no means failed him. I by no means stole from him. I watched over his household,” he mentioned. “And the one factor I ever obtained from him was 4 assaults in opposition to me.”