‘El Chapo’ lieutenant seeks only a decade in prison, rather than life, citing torture after capture

Jesus Raul Beltran Leon was a top man in the Sinaloa cartel and pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy. Now, he now could face a new allegation that he offered to pay to have a witness beaten.

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Jesus Raul Beltran Leon was a top lieutenant to now-imprisoned Mexican drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera (above).

Jesus Raul Beltran Leon was a top lieutenant to now-imprisoned Mexican drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera (above).

AP

A top lieutenant in Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera’s Sinaloa cartel again is making dramatic torture allegations in a court filing that asks a judge in Chicago to give him a prison sentence of no more than 10 years — the minimum required by law — rather than the life term he faces.

But Jesus Raul Beltran Leon could also face new allegations at his Aug. 5 sentencing, including a claim he offered to pay thousands of dollars to have a witness severely beaten.

Beltran Leon pleaded guilty in April in federal court in Chicago to drug conspiracy, scuttling a trial that would have followed Guzman’s conviction earlier this year in Brooklyn.

Last week, a federal judge sentenced Guzman to life in prison. The drug kingpin who was once the world’s most-wanted criminal is now being held at the “Supermax” facility in Florence, Colorado, records show.

Prosecutors say Beltran Leon once worked with Guzman’s sons Alfredo Guzman and Ivan Guzman to smuggle massive shipments of drugs into the United States. He is related to El Chapo by marriage and, authorities say, once bragged he was “one of the first people” to see Guzman after the druglord escaped a Mexican prison in 2001.

Beltran Leon, who admitted his role in the sale of 46 kilograms of cocaine in Los Angeles in June 2013, faces up to life in prison and a minimum of 10 years behind bars.

For years, Beltran Leon has maintained that U.S. agents were complicit in torture he endured at the hands of Mexican marines after his capture in 2014. A memo filed by his lawyers Monday again says he was brutally beaten and sexually assaulted. He also said the marines covered his face with plastic bags, punched him in the stomach and threatened to rape his wife and kill his mother, as well as asking whether he thought his infant daughter could “withstand a plastic bag.”

U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo has said Beltran Leon “presents a disturbing picture of law enforcement in Mexico” and that he was “deeply disturbed by the accusation that American law enforcement agents may be condoning or turning a blind eye to these tactics.”

But the judge declined to dismiss the case against Beltran Leon.

Records show Beltran Leon’s lawyers have complained that prosecutors told them Beltran Leon committed a murder in Mexico but would not say when it occurred.

His lawyers say they expect prosecutors to call a witness at Beltran Leon’s sentencing who has said Beltran Leon offered money to have another witness beaten. Beltran Leon’s lawyers say Beltran Leon was recorded repeating a rumor.

A transcript of that recording shows Beltran Leon says he’d heard the beating was worth $25,000. The transcript also mentions the Four Corner Hustlers, a brutal Chicago street gang.

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