Espinosa, who initially received a 22-year prison sentence, saw it cut by half for his cooperation. In his plea statement, Espinosa said that he and Avila “took part” in the Chicago cocaine deal, court records show.
Between September and December 2001, Espinosa “made attempts to collect payment for the 100 kilos of cocaine from [the] purchaser in Miami,” according to the plea statement. “Unbeknownst to [Espinosa], the purchaser was arrested by [the Drug Enforcement Administration in Miami] in early December 2001 and became a cooperating source.”
It is unclear from the court record who the cooperating source was.
Both Espinosa and Avila were also implicated in a Colombian shipment of nine tons of cocaine intended for Mexico and the United States in December 2001, according to Espinosa’s plea statement. Authorities seized the shipment after it was transferred from a Colombian vessel to a Mexican tuna boat off the Pacific port of Manzanillo.
Espinosa said in his statement that he “was going to participate in the storing and distribution of the cocaine once it arrived in Mexico. However, the load of cocaine was seized because DEA agents in Miami had learned about the upcoming shipment from the cooperating source.”
The cooperating source, who had helped set up the shipment, “was going to use his earnings from this cocaine shipment to pay his debt from the 100 kilos he had received in Chicago earlier in 2001,” according to Espinosa’s statement.
At Avila’s bond hearing in August, her attorney, Ralls, challenged the DEA agent investigating the case, questioning the integrity of the indictment against his client — especially the alleged link between the Chicago deal and Manzanillo seizure.
“Both of those [incidents] go together in our investigation,” DEA Special Agent Stephen Kepper testified.