The statements of Alexánder Cifuentes Villa in the trial in the United States against the former head of the Sinaloa cartel have suggested the international tentacles of a Colombian family group that, despite being closely linked to the history of drug trafficking in Colombia, by many years managed to go unnoticed before the authorities.
When Álex Cifuentes Villa entered the room of the Brooklyn District Federal Court on his first day of declaration, the first thing he did was to look at a familiar face among the many faces in the room. When he found him, with a friendly smile and an accomplice, he greeted him. It was the first time he saw his comrade Joaquin el Chapo Guzmán sitting on the bench of the accused, faced with a life sentence for trafficking more than 155 tons of cocaine in the United States in 25 years. And though Cifuentes entered the premises as one of the most important witnesses of the Prosecutor's Office against him, El Chapo returned his greeting.
In that first appearance, Hildebrando Alexánder Cifuentes Villa was instructed to tell the jury about the details of her relationship with the Mexican chief, with whom she worked so closely that for at least three years she went to live with him in the mountains of the Triangolo d & # 39; gold, an area of northern Mexico that includes the states of Chihuahua, Durango and Sinaloa, where the Chapo He had a good part of his operations center.
For several days, the public that has been called the anti-trafficking century trial has heard in the voice of Cifuentes dozens of stories and stories that have provided an account of unknown moments in the life of the elusive drug trafficker at the time it is the mountains were kept, fleeing from the siege of the authorities who were searching for heaven and earth at that moment after fleeing, in July 2015, from a maximum security prison in Mexico. the Chapo In the end it was reconquered in January 2016 and extradited to the United States a year later.
Cifuentes said, for example, that in those years of flight in which he closely accompanied the Chapo they moved constantly among many of the seven properties that the chief had in the Golden Triangle, all conditioned by simple residences and without great luxury to avoid attracting the attention of the army. Naturally, equipped with Internet access, satellite television and windows with tinted windows.
At that time Hildebrando Alexánder helped Guzmán Loera – who describes as a kind man and a good business man – to buy hundreds of kilos of cocaine not only in Colombia, but also in Ecuador, Panama and Bolivia and sell drugs to New York and Canada. "He described me as his 'secretary', his right arm and his left arm," said Cifuentes Villa during the trial, explaining his closeness to the boss.
That proximity to Chapo It was decisive for this to end up being one of the main witnesses of the case that monopolizes the attention of the world. And although the name of Alexander Cifuentes sounded foreign to many in the court, it is an old acquaintance of the Colombian and North American authorities, a member of a powerful family clan linked to drug trafficking since the time of the great Colombian drug cartels. .
And it is that the Villa Cifuentes has managed, for many years, to go unnoticed in front of the radar of the authorities who have focused their efforts and their attention on the adventures of other family groups such as Escobar Gaviria, Ochoa Vásquez or Rodríguez Orejuela. Keeping a low profile, Francisco Cifuentes Villa, brother of Álex, began his career in the world of drug trafficking working as a pilot and then as a partner of the head of the Medellin cartel, Pablo Escobar Gaviria. On the contrary, and when the power of Medellin's drug traffickers was running out, two other clan brothers – Fernando and Jorge Milton – decided to make their way into the mafia world, but this time with the Cali cartel.
In fact, it was Fernando Cifuentes Villa who, by order of Wilber Varela, in art soap, assassinated one of the great leaders of the north valley cartel: Efraín Hernández, alias Don Efra. Later it was the same soap who ordered Fernando's death to cancel any trial and report. Francisco's luck was not very different. After the murder of Fernando, he made alliances with the house of Castaño and in 2007 he was assassinated for apparent discrepancies and drug business problems with the paramilitary leader Diego Fernando Murillo, alias Don Bern.
Meanwhile, the other brothers of the clan were climbing, with less prominence but with equal importance, in the underworld. Jorge Milton, Dolly, Lucia Inés and Alexánder have found the way to continue in business and connect with the Sinaloa cartel, led by Joaquín Guzmán Loera, aka Chapo.
At that point the family group was already in the crosshairs of the authorities and the first to fall was Patricia, Francisco's wife, who had inherited a good part of his wife's business. She was captured and extradited in 2010 and left the empire in the hands of Dolly. From that moment on the clan declined, which had established a not insignificant emporium of companies that operated through the frontmen to wash the goods at the Sinaloa cartel. Dolly de Jesús Cifuentes Villa was arrested in August 2011 in Envigado and extradited in August 2012; Jorge Milton was captured in Venezuela in November 2012 and extradited a year later in the United States, and Lucia was arrested in March 2014.
Alexander was the last member of his family who fell into the hands of justice. He was captured in 2014 in Culiacán (Mexico), when he worked with the Sinaloa cartel. In December of the same year he was deported to Colombia and then extradited to the United States for the shipment of several cocaine shipments to that country between 2008 and 2014. And although he initially refused to cooperate with the authorities in the trial against his Chapo Guzmán, it was his brother Jorge Milton who persuaded him to give information. "He told me that with the Americans he should confess to me how to confess to God. Because if he decided to go to court he would be the first to sit down and testify against me," he said.
In fact Jorge Milton Cifuentes, known under the pseudonym of J, was another of the witnesses that the prosecutor's office presented as a key piece to prove the criminal Chapo. In his statements J he revealed, for example, that his relationship with the head of the Sinaloa cartel began in February 2003, when he went to Culiacán to meet him and that the chief had planned to traffic cocaine on the ships of the company Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX).
The statements of the two survivors of the family in the court of New York also served to try to understand how the clan worked and what were the internal disputes that had to account for the drug business. For example, Álex Cifuentes said that in 2008 he paid his nephew Jaime Roll Cifuentes – son of Lucía Inés – a sum in excess of 100,000 US dollars (of which Chapo I would put US $ 50,000) to assassinate his niece's partner, because he had come to work with them in the drug world and the money inconsistencies were presented, so they thought he was an informer. It was also known that he wanted to kill the same nephew, because he stole a few kilos of cocaine, his sister-in-law Patricia and also his secretary and great friend Andrea Fernandez, accusing her of treason.
But beyond the family struggles and the power struggle that has brought Villa Cifuentes to the top of the mafia world and then to perdition, the truth is that the testimonies of Jorge Milton and Alexánder have become a determining factor. for the Public Prosecutor's Office in a trial in which he tries to demonstrate at all costs the ample power that the Chapo as the head of one of the biggest drug cartels in the world. The defense, meanwhile, has focused its efforts to make clear that the real leader of the Sinaloa cartel was always Ismael May Zambada and this the role of Chapo within the organization it was much smaller than what was said.