He laundered between $1.5 million and $3.5 million to Mexico for the cartel led by notorious imprisoned drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, federal prosecutors say. At the bottom of El Chapo's hierarchy, 29-year-old Edgar Valencia Ortega who started with the cartel as a gopher and messenger boy, worked his way up to cartel accountant, laundering millions in drug cash and taking a commission on multi-kilo deals. Ortega is nicknamed "The Fox", so it is fitting that he has outfoxed news organizations and there is no photo of him.
One of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's top money men in the USA was sentenced to eight years in prison by a Chicago federal judge Friday. Ortega, dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit and listening to the proceedings through an interpreter, kept his head down and stared at the floor.
Born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico, Ortega was arrested while vacationing in the United States. "It also provided him with credibility that outsiders did not have". He was also indicted in the case but was killed a year ago in an apparent drug-related murder in Mexico.
"I know that she has suffered through this in ways that I can not imagine", Ortega stated in court as six of his family members cried.
Federal prosecutors had asked Castillo to sentence Ortega to more than 11 years in prison.
He would transport the money in amounts between $50,000 and $300,000 through his associates. In court, Ortega made a point of apologizing to the US, the judge presiding over his case, and his family, particularly his mother. Still devastated by his brother's killing, she said, Ortega looks forward to returning to his native country and working for a living. The world's richest drug dealer Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is almost the last man standing in the Chicago Sinaloa Cartel case.
The charges alleged the cartel used jumbo jets, submarines and tunnels to smuggle massive amounts of drugs into the US, much of which was later distributed in wholesale quantities through a network built by twin brothers Pedro and Margarito Flores, who grew up on Chicago's West Side and ultimately cooperated with law enforcement.
Authorities have said they are working to extradite Guzman to the USA, where he is facing indictments in seven jurisdictions, including Chicago. One courier was caught with $149,050 in May 2013, according to prosecutors.