Their killing fields aren’t just south of the border.
Colombian cocaine dealer Juan Carlos Ramirez told jurors Tuesday how he’d demanded the slayings of low-level cartel members in the New York City area in the early 1990s.
Ramirez, testifying in the trial of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, said he’d ordered at least 150 killings prior to his 2007 arrest — including the murder of a couple and their adult son in Fort Lee, NJ, in 1994, and the 1993 assassination of Brooklyn drug dealer Vladimir Biegelman in Mill Basin.
Guzman’s defense attorney William Purpura also asked Ramirez — who underwent extensive plastic surgery to evade arrest, but ultimately got caught by his voice — if he’d ordered the execution of a woman who ran one of his stash houses and “was shot four times in the head.”
“That’s right,” replied the former North Valley cartel leader, who sold cocaine to El Chapo’s Sinaloa Cartel in the ’90s.
Ramirez, aka “Chupeta,” casually said he typically had people killed for talking about the organization, stealing money or drugs. Under questioning from Purpura, he also admitted to having “seven or eight” people slaughtered for trying to kidnap his son.
A fastidious record keeper and a former economics student, Ramirez kept a thorough ledger to document his expenses — including for murder.
The entries were so precise they detailed the exact cost of the assassinations, noting that the killing of one unnamed person cost $338,776.
Ramirez also testified he helped “corrupt DEA agents by supplying prostitutes, gifts, apartments,” through Colombian officials.
Jurors Tuesday saw photos of Ramirez’s many disguises — in addition to his homes, art by noted Colombian painter Fernando Botero, $120 million in cash, and a yacht which were seized by the US government following his 2007 arrest in Brazil.
He was later extradited to the United States to face drug trafficking charges, and pleaded guilty in Brooklyn federal court in 2010.
Jurors later heard two DEA agents testify about massive cocaine seizures in Brooklyn and Queens in 2002 — including the recovery of 1,937 kilograms of cocaine from a Gowanus warehouse just a block from what is now a popular Whole Foods supermarket.
Guzman is facing charges of drug trafficking and murder conspiracy. He faces up to life behind bars if convicted.
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