Judge to hear arguments about cartel wives Olivia and Mia Flores' immunity claims

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel and Ross Weidner WLS logo
Wednesday, July 27, 2022
Judge sets hearing for cartel wives' immunity claims
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Olivia Flores said her husband Margarito told her that she was covered by a non-prosecution agreement.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- For years two wives reaped the benefits of El Chapo's cartel: millions of dollars from deals hatched by their husbands in Chicago's Little Village.

Now, Mia and Olivia Flores are in court fighting to avoid federal prosecution for money laundering.

Mia and Olivia Flores are the spouses of twins Pedro and Margarito Flores, twin brothers who were El Chapo's top deputies in Chicago and beyond.

Their wives claim the U.S. government promised them immunity from prosecution; when they turned in millions in illicit drug cartel profits collected by their husbands.

The twin brothers from Little Village were two of the most trusted allies of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. They turned on Chapo and helped the government build a case against the billionaire drug lord of the cut-throat Sinaloa cartel in Mexico.

From the time the Flores brothers started dishing to DEA agents at that agency's Chicago headquarters until the moment they cut a deal with federal prosecutors in the Dirksen building, the Flores wives were in the wings living a lavish lifestyle financed by their spouses.

When they were charged in 2021 with money laundering related to their husbands' millions, they filed a motion to dismiss, claiming the government promised them immunity when they helped turn over illicit cash.

For the past two days, via video, a parade of government witnesses appeared into court and said there was no such arrangement, agreement or understanding of immunity.

Olivia Flores said her husband Margarito told her that she was covered by a non-prosecution agreement and she said their unnamed Chicago defense attorney promised that whoever delivered the drug money to investigators would get immunity and not be prosecuted

Judges rarely grant motions to dismiss major prosecutions, normally because they are air tight.

However, despite no written immunity agreement in this case, district judge Matthew Kennelly Tuesday asked tough questions of government witnesses and seemed to have some doubts about the official version of events concerning the cartel wives.

Kennelly has scheduled arguments on the motion for next Monday afternoon and a decision will come after that.