A federal jury found Marciano “Chano” Millan Vasquez, an accused Zetas boss, guilty of all 10 counts of the drug-related charges against him on Tuesday.
Millan was accused of drug conspiracy and killing while engaged in drug trafficking and faces life in prison. Witness and prosecutors said he was a regional leader for the Zetas cartel, in a Mexican border city called Piedras Negras, and he had worked with many other cartel leaders to bribe politicians and kill scores of people in the Mexican state of Coahuila to be able to protect there business of smuggling drugs into the United States.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Galdo had told jurors in closing arguments hours earlier“It is the defendant who aided the Zetas in their reign of terror in Piedras Negras.” “They turned that city and Acuña into a drug state, a safe havein in which they could operate.”
Attorney for Jaime Cavazos said prosecutors had lacked physical evidence tying his client to any crimes. Instead, he said, the government relied on convicted drug defendants who were testifying to get reduced sentences.
“Do not buy these stories,” Cavazos said. “They are inconsistent with who these people are. They never told the truth … They are here to get something.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell Leachman said federal agents were able to produce phone tolls and other physical evidence tying Millan Vasquez to drug seizures in Texas and a police informant who was killed in Mexico.
He closed his argument asking jurors to think about the testimony of one witness, who said he watched as Millan used an axe to dismember a 6-year-old girl in front of her screaming parents during a Zetas purge that had killed more than 300 people across Coahuila.
“I want you to think about her being pinned down by grown men and her parents watching their own child have limbs being hacked from her own body,” Leachman said. “The only solace these people had was to look down maybe try to pray, and what did he do? Grab their heads and make them watch their daughter suffer.”
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