The woman told an American jury about the hell she went through for a long time, thinking that the drug trafficker was going to murder her for collaborating with the FBI.
Andrea Fernández Vélez worked for El Chapo, betrayed him by cooperating with the FBI and he wanted to kill her. Her implausible story was revealed after the trial against the founder of the Sinaloa cartel, which was held in the United States and in which she was sentenced to life in prison.
Her testimony was emblematic since minutes after the testimony of Vélez “El Chapo” he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life behind bars for trafficking hundreds of tons of drugs to the United States over 25 years, he looked at her seriously for a few seconds, before concentrating on his wife, the young Emma Coronel.
“Señor Guzmán, as I apologize, I forgive you, and I hope you can forgive me,” said the woman.
Tall, thin, with waist-length brown hair tied back in a ponytail, Vélez stood about four meters from El Chapo and said that “empathy arose” between the two when they worked together on a project for a film about the life of the famous capo.
“I deeply admired Mr. Guzmán (…) I came to see him as a good person, educated, who cared about me, kind and with charisma. At one point I felt he was from my family, ” he said.
But “I am a miracle from God, because Mr. Guzmán tried to kill me (…) He offered the Hells Angeles a million dollars to end my life,” he said, referring to the motorcycle gang.
Achieving the impossible
The federal police and the Brooklyn attorney’s office “literally rescued me from hell,” said this woman of unknown age, dressed in a sober skirt suit and black jacket, and high heels.
Vélez was charged with drug trafficking offenses in May 2012 in a New York court, but apparently never was in jail.
FBI agent Steven Marston told El Chapo that Vélez was approached in Colombia in September 2012 to work as an informant in the investigations against El Chapo and Alex Cifuentes.
Velez agreed not to go to jail, the FBI paid her $ 290,000 , and when her life was at risk in 2013, she was transferred to the United States and given a special visa for cooperating witnesses.
The woman hinted that today she is part of the US government’s witness protection program and has a new identity.
He stated that he wanted to tell his story to ” stop being a faceless name.”
The Colombia-Sinaloa link
It all started with the friendship between Vélez and the Colombian drug lord Alex Cifuentes, El Chapo’s partner.
Cifuentes, a prosecution witness in the Chapo trial, reported that Andrea was his most trusted person . He met her through a Colombian actress, and since he had nowhere to live, he offered her his apartment in Cancun.
Andrea quickly became her secretary, spokesperson, and right hand. She handled all her petty cash, bought her clothes, her watches and all her personal things. Up to “$ 500 sheets,” according to El Chapo’s attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman.
She coordinated her agenda and contacts, and as her spokesperson, she met with members of the Colombian FARC guerrillas, with drug traffickers from Canada or Ecuador, or with corrupt military personnel.
He also had a modeling agency in Mexico City, a front company to supply prostitutes to the Mexican military, all paid for by Chapo Guzmán.
“I confess that I sinned, but for that I paid a high price ,” Vélez said in the sentence. Because of “my dream of greatness I lost my family, my friends, I became a shadow without a name. I had everything and I lost everything, even my identity.”
Without telling him the truth, El Chapo used it in 2013 as bait to kidnap Ecuadorian army captain Telmo Castro in a restaurant “with a squad of men armed with AK47,” an incident that Velez still produces “nightmares.”
At that time, at the request of the Mexican drug trafficker, Vélez offered an unidentified Mexican general $ 10 million to stop chasing Chapo, but he rejected the offer. El Chapo, furious, said that Vélez was lying and decided to kill her , Cifuentes said.
Everything indicates, however, that Vélez collaborated with the FBI for more than a year, and El Chapo may have learned that she was an informant. “She betrayed my employer,” said Cifuentes.
The Colombian drug trafficker said that with El Chapo they decided to hire the Hells Angels to kill Vélez when she was in Canada.
But in November 2013, the day he was due to meet with a gang boss to adjust the details, Cifuentes was detained by the Mexican police and jailed.
Vélez said that he suffered from Stockholm syndrome in a certain way, and that his friends became “his captors.”
“They reminded me that if I left I could only do it in a plastic bag and with my feet forward.”