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Drug cartel leader Vincente Zambada-Niebla 's defense: I was a DEA informant

Drug cartel leader Vincente Zambada-Niebla 's defense: I was a DEA informant!

Sunday, August 7th 2011, 1:11 PM

Vicente Zambada Niebla, aka "El Vicentillo", one of the leaders of the Sinaloa drug cartel, was nabbed in 2009.
Luis Acosta/AFP/Gett

A Mexican drug kingpin says he shouldn't go to jail because he was a DEA snitch.

In court papers Vincente Zambada Niebla, who allegedly was a major player in the Sinaloa Cartel, argues that he was promised immunity from prosecution by the DEA, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

In return, he claims, he provided them with information about the activities of rival drug cartels.

"The United States government considered the arrangements with the Sinaloa Cartel an acceptable price to pay because the principal objective was the destruction and dismantling of rival cartels by using the assistance of the Sinaloa Cartel," lawyers for Zambada-Niebla say in a court filing in U.S. District Court in Chicago, according to the report.

Zambada Niebla was arrested by Mexico's military in March of 2009 and extradited to the US in 2010 on an outstanding warrant. He is accused of using a variety of modes of transportation to move more than $50 million worth of cocaine from Colombia to the United States.

He claims American authorities knew exactly what he was doing and promised him immunity when they met in a downtown Mexico City hotel shortly before his arrest.

"The United States government and its various agencies have a long history of providing benefits, permission and immunity to criminals and their organizations to commit crimes, including murder, in return for receiving information against other criminals," Zambada-Niebla's court filing says, according to the report.

The filing cites the example of notorious Boston mob king Whitey Bulger who was an FBI informant during his reign of terror in the Northeast.

Prosecutors denied promising Zambada-Niebla immunity or allowing him to continue to traffic drugs around the country. They want a judge to block him from using that as a defense unless he can provide the names of specific officials who approved his illegal activity, the Sun-Times reported.

The drug violence in Mexico has claimed more than 41,000 lives since 2006.

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