Accused cartel operative wants Chicago case tossed for torture

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Jesus Raul Beltran-Leon alleges a campaign of physical and psychological torture by drug agents dating back to at least 2010. (WLS)

One year after the I-Team exposed allegations of electro-shock and suffocation torture by Mexican and American drug agents, a cartel defendant is asking that all charges against him be dropped.

Accused Sinaloa cartel henchman Jesus Raul Beltran-Leon is being held without bond at the Chicago MCC and his attorneys on Thursday filed a motion to dismiss the case in U.S. district court based on "outrageous government conduct (torture)."

Beltran-Leon is a purported bodyguard for a son of drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, who is lead defendant in the Chicago case. Guzman is currently being held in New York where he is also under indictment.

Beltran-Leon, 34, has accused Mexican and U.S. officials in a campaign of physical and psychological torture dating back to at least 2010.

Newly filed court documents on Thursday describe how "plastic bags were placed over his face to asphyxiate him. He was also beaten and punched. The abductors repeatedly threatened to gang-rape his wife, kill his mother and asphyxiate his baby daughter. He was eventually subjected to electroshock, further beatings, near-drowning, and sexual threats."

Attorneys for the American citizen are asking for a full hearing on the torture allegations in chief judge Ruben Castillo's courtroom.

The torture complaints have hung over proceedings in Judge Castillo's courtroom since last June when Beltran-Leon's attorneys first raised them. Castillo initially was critical of the defense attorneys for raising such explosive allegations in public and not filing them under seal. But after the paperwork was out and reported by the I-Team it continued to gain steam in federal court.

Among the support material filed in the past year is a photo of a female drug suspect allegedly being tortured by Mexican drug investigators.

In an affidavit filed initially in federal court a year ago, Beltran-Leon recounted how he was shocked with electrodes, subject to water torture and that his wife, baby daughter and mother were threatened with gang rape and murder. He said his "abductors held me down, placed plastic bags over my face, and began to asphyxiate me while others punched me in the abdomen, which forced the air in my lungs to expel faster."

Beltran-Leon's attorneys contend that on November 16, 2014 Mexican marines burst into his parents' home with guns drawn and seized him and his wife, along with his infant daughter. His captors are accused of threatening to rape his wife and kill his other family members.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago have declined comment.

He was extradited to Chicago in January 2017 to face charges in the 2009 indictment of El Chapo and his reputed lieutenants. That same month, El Chapo was extradited to New York where he awaits trial in a related drug case.

Oddly, in that case, there are also allegations of torture-but those are being made by prosecutors against El Chapo. They say that the drug lord used torture tactics to control and intimidate his underlings.
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