Wives of Flores twins, who helped put ‘El Chapo’ in prison, to plead guilty to money-laundering
Pedro Flores’s wife Vivianna Lopez and Margarito Flores’s wife Valerie Gaytan collected drug debts owed to their husbands and spent lavishly, according to prosecutors.
The wives of Sinaloa cartel-connected Chicago cocaine dealers Margarito Flores and Pedro Flores plan to plead guilty to money laundering charges for collecting, hiding and spending the ill-gotten gains of their husbands.
The Flores twins made a lot of money as top lieutenants to Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera.
But the brothers surrendered to U.S. officials in Mexico in 2008 and agreed to cooperate against their boss, who was convicted in a massive conspiracy case and is now serving a life prison term thanks in large part to Pedro Flores’s testimony.
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The twins, who grew up in Little Village, have served their 14-year prison sentences for supplying tons of cocaine to Chicago and other cities and are in witness protection.
In 2021, Pedro Flores’s wife, Vivianna Lopez, and Margarito Flores’s wife, Valerie Gaytan, were indicted in Chicago on federal money-laundering charges.
They were accused of helping collect millions of dollars of their husbands’ drug debts and spending the money on everything from vacations to private-school tuition for their kids.
On Thursday, attorneys representing the two women told U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly that they now plan to plead guilty. They’ll make it official at hearings scheduled for next month.
During a hearing late last year at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in the Loop, Kennelly rejected Lopez and Gaytan’s assertion that they’d been granted immunity from prosecution as part of their husbands’ deals with prosecutors.
The wives had come clean to prosecutors about more than $4 million in narcotics proceeds they were hiding in 2010.
But Kennelly said there isn’t any proof that prosecutors gave them the approval to continue collecting and spending drug money without consequences for “all time.”
Lopez and Gaytan — who wrote a 2017 book, “Cartel Wives,” describing the highs and lows of being married to big-time cocaine traffickers — were accused of continuing to help hide and spend their husbands’ drug proceeds long after 2010.
Vivianna Lopez’s aunt, Laura Lopez, also charged in the money-laundering scheme, also plans to change her plea to guilty, her attorney said Thursday.