US Prosecutors Confirm Classified Information Colors Zambada Niebla’s Case
Government’s Pleadings Also Contend U.S. Intelligence Agencies Lack Authority to Grant Accused Narco-Trafficker Immunity
Prosecutors in the Jesus Vicente Zambada Niebla case on Monday, Oct. 3, filed a motion in federal court in Chicago rebutting the accused Mexican narco-trafficker’s argument that he has been denied access to critical evidence in preparing his defense due to a tardy call by the prosecution for national-security procedures to be invoked in his case.
In their pleadings, prosecutors again affirm the government’s position that there was no immunity deal offered to the accused narco-trafficker or to the leadership of the Sinaloa drug-trafficking organization.
The pleadings filed by the prosecution do not address directly why the government is seeking to invoke national-security procedures for Zambada Niebla’s case.
However, the government’s motion does confirm that “classified materials” related to the case do exist, but also insists those classified materials do not support Zambada Niebla’s immunity claims.
To date, no U.S. media outlet, other than Narco News, has reported on the US government’s effort to invoke national security in the Zambada Niebla case.
Monday’s filing by prosecutors confirms that Zambada Niebla’s case does raise national security issues that require, according to those prosecutors, that special procedures be established by the court — under a 30-year-old law known as the Classified Information Procedures Act — to assure that classified materials do not become public during the court proceedings.
Zambada Niebla, son of one of the leaders of the Sinaloa “Cartel,” arguably the most powerful international narco-trafficking organization on the planet, argues in his criminal case that he and the other leadership of Mexico’s Sinaloa drug-trafficking organization, were, in effect, working for the U.S. government for years by providing US agents with intelligence about rival drug organizations.
In exchange for that cooperation, Zambada Niebla, who was extradited from Mexico to the United States in February 2010, contends the US government granted the leadership of the Sinaloa “Cartel” immunity from prosecution for their criminal activities — including the narco-trafficking charges he now faces in Chicago.
Attorneys for Zambada Niebla have not returned phone calls from Narco News seeking comment.
Randy Sanborn, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Illinois, which is prosecuting the case, previously, told Narco News that “we cannot comment beyond what’s in the pleadings.”
From the US government’s pleadings filed, Monday, Oct. 3
While the government cannot address classified materials that do exist in a public filing, the undersigned [assistant US attorneys] submit, based on their review of the classified materials, that there are no classified materials that support defendant’s claim that he was promised immunity or public authority for his actions.
… In support of his request for delay, defendant now alleges that he requires access to classified materials to confirm that the intelligence community has “relevant and material information to establish that they had knowledge that the leaders of the Sinaloa Cartel were allowed to engage in drug trafficking activity but did nothing to prevent the trafficking or to arrest those leaders.”
... Even if an intelligence official had done so [offered Zambada Niebla immunity], “[o]fficials of the C.I.A. or any other intelligence agency of the United States do not have the authority to authorize conduct which would violate ‘the constitution or statutes of the United States,’ including federal narcotics laws." ... Because all U.S. intelligence agencies lacked the authority to grant defendant immunity or public authority to traffic enormous volumes of cocaine and heroin into the United States, defendant cannot support his allegations [of being granted immunity] with discovery [evidence] from such agencies....
Stay tuned ....
Narco News past coverage of the Zambada Niebla case can be found at these links: