Drug lord who was and founded El Chapo’s right-hand man feared the Sinaloa cartel could be released after Mexican judge exonerated him of organized crime charges
- Hector ‘El Guero’ Palma Salazar, 80, will be released if no other court decides to file him for separate crimes over the next week
- He was acquitted by a Mexican judge on Saturday of the allegations of organized crime
- Has been incarcerated in Altiplano prison on a murder charge since his release from US prison in 2016
- Spent nine years in California for trafficking cocaine after his arrest in 1995
A drug lord who was El Chapo’s right-hand man who founded the dreaded Sinaloa cartel could be released after a Mexican judge acquitted him of the organized crime allegations.
Hector ‘El Guero’ Palma Salazar, 80, will be released if no other court decides to file him for individual crimes over the next week.
The 80-year-old drug lord has been held in Altiplano prison in Mexico since 2016, when he was released from prison in the US for nearly a decade, taken to Mexican authorities and arrested.
He was charged with more than two murders in Nayarit state on the Pacific coast in 1995 on his return, but was never properly prosecuted for the alleged crimes.
Top drug lord Hector ‘El Guero’ Palma Salazar, 80, could be released from prison after a Mexican judge acquitted him of organized crime charges five years after he was taken into custody in 2016 (pictured)
After his release from prison in the US in 2016, Salazar was taken to Mexican authorities at the border in Brownsville, Texas and Matamoros, Mexico.
Salazar was acquitted in a memorandum Saturday of the most recent charges by Mexico’s second district court for federal criminal proceedings.
The Mexican State Department said it had also asked the US government to check whether there was an extradition request for Salazar before his release.
They added that prosecutors in all 32 Mexican states are currently checking whether they have any outstanding charges against Salazar, whose nickname means ‘Blondie’ in English.
While in custody of Mexican authorities, Salazar was charged with two murders in 1995 in Nayarit state on the Pacific coast, but was never properly prosecuted for the alleged crimes.
Salazar was extradited to the US in 2007 (pictured) and sentenced to 16 years in prison on charges of drug trafficking. He was released for good behavior in 2016 after serving for nine years
Salazar was first arrested in Arizona in 1978 for trafficking cocaine and sentenced to eight years in prison.
After his release, Palma returned to Mexico and began working with Joaquin Guzman Loera – ‘El Chapo’, for the fearful Sinaloa drug cartel.
Salazar was a top employee of Guzman, the Sinaloa chief usher who gained international attention when he famously escaped from Altiplano prison in 2015 and later met actor Sean Penn while on the run.
Guzman escaped from his prison cell through a well-constructed, mile-long tunnel that led from his shower block to a house, triggering a massive manhunt that ended with his arrest in the northern state of Sinaloa in January 2015.
Under the leadership of the pair, the Sinaloa Cartel became the most powerful in Mexico.
The United States Attorney General’s Office estimates that the cartel smuggled 200 tons (400,000 pounds) of cocaine into the US between 1990-2008.
Salazar was the right-hand man of Mexican drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, who was arrested in 2014 (pictured, El Chapo being escorted by US law enforcement in 2017)
Salazar was arrested a second time by Mexican authorities in June 1995 after his private jet crashed while on his way to a wedding. It has been alleged that he initially evaded the authorities by dressing in a police uniform, but was eventually taken into custody.
He was extradited to the US in 2007, pleaded guilty to transporting 50 kg of cocaine, and was sentenced to 16 years in Atwater maximum-security federal prison in California.
He was acquitted of nine murders, plus charges of kidnapping and theft.
The embassy said he returned to Mexico yesterday after serving nine years for good behavior and the five years he spent in a Mexican prison awaiting extradition, which was counted as time.
According to Mexican media, Salazar’s wife was murdered by rivals who sent him her severed head in a box. His two young children also came to be thrown off a bridge in Venezuela.
He has reportedly spent more than $ 400,000 to build an elaborate tomb for his late wife.
Salazar was arrested for the second time after a plane crash on June 23, 1995 and was presented to the press (pictured) before being extradited to the US.