Sinaloa cartel infiltrated Supreme Court: Mexican Attorney General’s Office
August 17th 2012 · 5 Comments
A federal judge in Mexico indicted an official from the Mexican Supreme Court (Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación, SCJN) accused of working for the Sinaloa cartel, also known as the Pacific cartel, the criminal organization headed by Joaquín Guzmán Loera, “El Chapo.” Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR) alleges that Juan Carlos de la Barrera Vite, who was a law clerk (secretario de estudio y cuenta) at the SCJN, provided the Sinaloa cartel with information regarding statements made by protected witnesses against the criminal organization.
De la Barrera Vite worked in the office of Justice Sergio Valls Hernández, though more recently he worked as area director in the Court’s personnel department. He also reportedly worked for a six-month period last year in the narcotics division of the PGR’s organized crime office (Subprocuraduría de Investigación Especializada en Delincuencia Organizada, SIEDO), the agency currently investigating him. He obtained a Master’s degree in civil and family law from the Autonomous University of Barcelona before joining the ranks of the federal judicial branch. Upon quitting his post with SIEDO, he returned to the SCJN, where he worked for the human resources department, a position that granted him less access to sensitive information than his job as clerk for Justice Valls.
According to the investigation being carried out by SIEDO, de la Barrera answered to Felipe Cabrera Sarabia (pictured above), “El Inge,” who Mexican authorities have identified as one of El Chapo Guzmán’s principal lieutenants. Cabrera Sarabia was arrested last December by Army special forces in Sinaloa’s capital Culiacán, and subsequently accused of spearheading the Sinaloa cartel’s activities in Durango and the south of Chihuahua. According to SIEDO’s preliminary investigation, two witnesses alerted the agency to various corrupt officials working with the cartel, including de la Barrera Vite. Criminal proceedings against the defendant began on June 21, and a federal judge ordered his arrest on July 26. He was apprehended on July 29 in Acapulco, Guerrero, and is currently housed in the Federal Social Rehabilitation Center 3 Northeast (Cefereso 3 Noreste) in Matamoros, Tamaulipas.
The Mexican Supreme Court has confirmed the arrest of de la Barrera Vite, as well as his former positions in the Court as clerk to Valls Hernández and more recently as an employee in the SCJN’s personnel department, and that it is cooperating with the PGR’s investigation. It also denied that any sensitive court information has been compromised.
A version of this column originally appeared in justiceinmexico.org.
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