Audio transcription under surveillance in the Sinaloa cartel trial

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – An audio transcript played during the trial of two prominent members of the Sinaloa cartel was reviewed in court today.

Lawyers for Arturo Shows Urquidi and Mario Iglesias Villegas called an expert in acoustics to testify during the trial on Wednesday.

Defense attorneys for Urquidi and Iglesias first asked the court to allow an expert witness when they discovered that an error in the transcript was initially found by its authors.
U.S. agents told the jury that the transcript went through various iterations, each time with delicate handling of what was said to people who would listen and identify the people speaking in the recording. Officers have asked former members of a squad to review the audio to flag the individuals.
The expert told the jury that he used scientific processes to examine the audio between members of a Sinaloa cartel squad in the midst of a kidnapping at a wedding in Juárez in 2010.

They identified people by numbers and alphanumeric symbols like X, which would then be followed by a number.

The expert found six instances where the transcript of the audio indicated that an individual was speaking but turned out to be someone else’s, according to his presentation.

Prosecutors released the audio at a hearing last week. He has several people in a squad speaking in coded language.

Two squad members testified that on the day of the kidnapping at El Señor de la Misericordia Catholic Church in Juárez, or Lord of Mercy Catholic Church, three people were kidnapped and one person was killed in the church.

They had kidnapped Rafael Morales-Valencia, an American citizen; his brother and witness, Jaime Morales-Valencia, a lawful permanent resident; and their uncle Guadalupe Morales-Arreola.

Cartel members Arturo Shows Urquidi and Mario Alberto Iglesias Villegas are on trial this week in US federal court in El Paso. The two are accused of being involved in the operations of the Sinaloa cartels in Juárez in connection with murders, kidnappings and drug trafficking.

And, Iglesias is accused of playing a role in the kidnapping in 2010.

The trials are part of a grand indictment by a federal grand jury that included Sinaloa cartel leaders Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and Ismael “Mayo” Zambada Garcia. On April 24, 2012, the leaders and 22 other members of the cartel were charged with criminal activities ranging from drug trafficking to conspiracy to kill in a foreign country.

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