Flores brothers surrendered in 2008 and agreed to cooperate against Mexican drug lord Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán Loera
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Their husbands were key informants against drug kingpin El Chapo. Now, the wives are fighting money-laundering charges that could land them in prison.
Chicago's wives of the cartel, Mia and Olivia Flores, are married to drug mob twin brothers, Pedro and Margarito Flores. The wives have been claiming they were exempt from criminal charges because prosecutors had given them immunity. A federal judge disagrees.
"I'm not aware of any immunity that that provides blanket protection against future crimes and future misconduct. It's just not the way the system works," ABC7's legal analyst Gil Soffer told the I-Team.
Soffer designed immunity deals in criminal cases while working at the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. He says an immunity deal like the one the Flores wives described would never have been offered because it aimed to protect against future criminal conduct.
Mia and Olivia Flores' husbands are from Chicago's Little Village neighborhood. It was from here that they were top U.S. operatives for the Sinaloa Cartel boss Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. The billionaire drug lord El Chapo is serving a life sentence at the Supermax prison, in large part to the Flores twins turning on him.
Their wives are now fighting money laundering charges. They claimed prosecutors had made a special agreement with them to use their husbands' drug proceeds as they wanted, even after the twins were imprisoned.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly has ruled there was no proof that prosecutors handed them immunity to continue a criminal enterprise.
"The essence of the claim here, thrown out by these wives, was that they had been promised immunity. But they could point to nothing in writing," Soffer said. "They had no conversation that was recorded or reported. They're talking about what they said was an old discussion, years and years and years ago with an Assistant U.S. Attorney. Those kinds of claims rarely, very rarely succeed. The claim that you get forward looking immunity for criminal conduct that you haven't even yet engaged in is a bit far-fetched, and ultimately didn't carry the day."
If the cartel wives had been given immunity it might have been the deal of a lifetime. They had stashed five million dollars in drug cash under the floorboards of a home, and gave authorities information about where to find it. For that, the women claimed prosecutors gave them a free pass. A trial date is set for June 20th.