Pedro Flores, star witness against El Chapo, tells judge feds gave wife immunity against prosecution

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel and Ross Weidner via WLS logo
Tuesday, July 26, 2022
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Pedro Flores, a star witness against former Sinaloa Cartel leader El Chapo, told a judge that the feds gave his wife, Vivianna Lopez, immunity.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Wives of the cartel were in the center ring Monday at federal district court in Chicago.

Their husbands were El Chapo's top two lieutenants in Chicago, and now the spouses are fighting to stay out of prison for allegedly hiding drug cartel money.

SEE ALSO | Another guilty plea on table in Chicago case connected to drug lord El Chapo

They call themselves "Cartel Wives," and, on Monday, the women married to El Chapo's top dogs in Chicago were trying to escape the federal doghouse.

Mia and Olivia Flores, married to the notorious Flores twin brothers, are claiming they were promised a free pass by U.S. prosecutors and are therefore immune from criminal charges.

The cartel wives married into the world's most profitable and bloodthirsty drug mob-run by Joaquin" El Chapo" Guzman.

Chapo's top hired hands in Chicago were their husbands: the twin brothers from Little Village, Pedro and Margarito Flores.

RELATED | Cartel wives Mia and Olivia Flores hid millions in floorboards of house, feds say

After the Flores twins became covert government informants on El Chapo and secretly recorded conversations that helped put him away for life, the Chicago brothers were sentenced to 14 years in prison and have reportedly ended their prison sentences, but wives Mia and Olivia appeared Monday during a Dirksen Federal Building virtual court hearing -- trying to get the money laundering case against them thrown out.

Olivia Flores, married to drug dealer Margarito, said that she helped turn in $4 million in cartel money to the feds and that she never would have done that without "a non-prosecution agreement."

Her brother-in-law, Pedro Flores, testified Monday that he was promised by prosecutors no one in his family would be charged -- a promise he claimed was made by former U.S. Attorney Thomas Shakeshaft, who died last Tuesday.

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Shakeshaft spoke to the ABC7 I-Team in an interview broadcast in November of 2018 about the secret meetings he had with the Flores brothers before taking down El Chapo.

"Cooperators are our life blood, and sometimes you have to cut deals with some unsavory folks" said Shakeshaft during the I-Team interview in 2018.

Federal agents testified on Monday that they never heard Shakeshaft make an immunity promise to the Flores family. Chicago prosecutors maintain no promise like that was ever extended to cartel wives -- and that they should be tried for hiding millions in drug money used to finance a lavish lifestyle of expensive cars and global travel.

Late Monday under questioning by the government, Olivia Flores admitted she never received any immunity deal in writing.

The hearing is set to continue Tuesday morning, with U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kennelly to determine whether the cartel wives get a free pass because of some unwritten and unverified immunity deal. Olivia Flores said one of the twins' demands for cooperating against El Chapo was immunity for their family.

Regardless, Olivia Flores testified about the fallout of being a cartel wife for her and her children. Despite having written a book and done TV shows, she claims they will be in danger the rest of their lives.