Charged with El Chapo in Chicago; dead in Mexico after torture

ABC7 I-Team Investigation
CHICAGO (WLS) -- A top lieutenant in El Chapo's Sinaloa Cartel-and key figure in the druglord's Chicago case-has been found tortured and killed, the I-Team has learned.

Jorge Mario Valenzuela Verdugo, alias "El Marito Choclos," had been missing for about ten days last month in Mexico. Prosecutors in Chicago on Wednesday asked a federal judge to drop the charges against Valenzuela Verdugo, 36, since the "government has obtained credible information that defendant Jorge Mario Valenzuela Verdugo died on or about October 22, 2017."

For Valenzuela Verdugo, it was apparently a violent ending to life in a lethal business.

Mexican law enforcement officials said they found Valenzuela Verdugo stuffed into a 55-gallon industrial drum on a dairy farm near Culiacan in Mexico's Sinaloa state.

He had been a fugitive since late 2014 when indicted by a federal grand jury in Chicago and added to the burgeoning case against Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the world's richest drug kingpin.

Two years ago, Valenzuela Verdugo was named as a major trafficker and money launderer by U.S. Treasury Department officials under the so-called "Kingpin Act." At the time, the Treasury Dept. froze his assets. And said that he had "reinforced the criminal power and the influence of the infamous activities of Mr. Guzman." El Chapo himself is currently held in New York and being prosecuted there on charges similar to the Chicago case.

Federal authorities in Chicago did not respond to I-Team requests for information on Valenzuela Verdugo's torturous murder. Prosecutors have asked to appear in front of Chicago District Judge Ruben Castillo on December 5th when they will present the motion to dismiss charges.
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