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Feds get two months to answer ‘very serious’ torture allegations

The wanted poster in Mexico for Jesus Raul Beltran-Leon. | Mexican government

Federal prosecutors have two months to answer claims that a bodyguard for a son of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was tortured in the presence of U.S. drug agents when arrested in 2014 by Mexican authorities.

U.S. District Chief Judge Ruben Castillo called the claims “very serious” during a brief court appearance for the man Tuesday. The judge told a prosecutor to respond in February.

Jesus Raul Beltran-Leon was extradited to Chicago in January to face federal drug charges in the 2009 indictment of Chapo and his organization. His attorney wants the feds to turn over any evidence related to his torture allegations.

Beltran-Leon says authorities burst into his parents’ home in Mexico, threatened him and his family and tortured him to learn the location of Chapo’s sons, Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar and Ivan Archivaldo Guzman Salazar.

Authorities have said Beltran-Leon worked for Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar.

Beltran-Leon has said in court papers that several men he believed to be English-speaking Americans were present during the raid. Last week his lawyer, Stephen Ralls, said in a filing that the government had conceded the DEA was working with the Mexican Navy to capture Beltran-Leon, but that four DEA agents deployed to the area “did not respond to the scene.”

Contributing: Frank Main