Top lieutenant for druglord El Chapo found tortured and killed

CHICAGO, Illinois -- A top lieutenant in El Chapo's Sinaloa Cartel-and key figure in the druglord's Chicago case-has been found tortured and killed, the I-Team has learned.

Jorge Mario Valenzuela Verdugo, alias "El Marito Choclos," had been missing for several days last month in Mexico. Federal prosecutors in Chicago on Wednesday asked a federal judge to drop the charges against Valenzuela Verdugo, 36, since the "government has obtained credible information that defendant Jorge Mario Valenzuela Verdugo died on or about October 22, 2017. Specifically, the government has learned from, among other sources, a copy of a Mexican death certificate, that Valenzuela Verdugo is deceased."

For Valenzuela Verdugo it was apparently a violent ending to life in a lethal business.

Mexican law enforcement officials said they found Valenzuela Verdugo deposited on a dairy farm near Culiacán in Mexico's Sinaloa state. The drug operative had been tortured, shot and covered with lime-a chemical that already had begun to decompose his remains, police sources said. He was found east of Culiacán, Sinaloa, about 400 meters from the Stanza Torralva district.

He had been a fugitive since late 2014 when indicted by a federal grand jury in Chicago and added to the burgeoning case against Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the world's richest drug kingpin.

Two years ago Valenzuela Verdugo was named as a major trafficker and money launderer by U.S. Treasury Department officials under the so-called "Kingpin Act." At the time, the Treasury Dept. froze his assets. And said that he had "reinforced the criminal power and the influence of the infamous activities of Mr. Guzman." El Chapo himself is currently held in New York and being prosecuted there on charges similar to the Chicago case.

Federal authorities in Chicago did not respond to I-Team requests for information on Valenzuela Verdugo's torturous murder. Prosecutors have asked to appear in front of Chicago District Judge Ruben Castillo on December 5th when they will present the motion to dismiss charges.

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