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Former top aide to El Chapo known as ‘The Engineer’ pleads guilty to drug charges

A former senior lieutenant to drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzman pleaded guilty to trafficking more than 150 kilograms of cocaine and more than 30 kilograms of heroin on Friday. 

Felipe Cabrera Sarabia, 51, faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison when he is sentenced on July 7. 

Felipe Cabrera Sarabia after his arrest by Mexican police. 

Felipe Cabrera Sarabia after his arrest by Mexican police. 
(REUTERS/Bernardo Montoya )

Known as “The Engineer,” Sarabia allegedly ran operations for the multi billion-dollar Sinaloa drug cartel before he was arrested in 2015. 

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He told U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman through an interpreter on Friday that he “always made a living as a cattle rancher,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times. 

Authorities escort Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, center, from a plane in Ronkonkoma, N.Y.  

Authorities escort Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, center, from a plane in Ronkonkoma, N.Y.  
(U.S. law enforcement via G3 Box News)

Sarabia’s guilty plea comes after Guzman was sentenced to life in prison in 2019 for his 25-year reign as the head of the Sinaloa drug cartel. 

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Guzman’s son, Ovidio Guzmán, was arrested by Mexican police earlier this month in the Mexican city of Culiacan. 

The G3 Box News contributed to this report. 



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