Avila’s attorneys claimed that Morales, the prosecutor, pressured her ex-boyfriend, Espinosa, to sign a 2010 declaration implicating her in the Chicago deal — without his defense attorney present. They said his declaration was instrumental in her extradition to the United States.
Espinosa, also known as “El Tigre,” was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty to a charge of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute cocaine in 2009.
Espinosa said in the declaration that he and Avila participated in a 100-kilo cocaine shipment with a trafficker named Juan Carlos Lopez Correa in 2001. He also said after the cocaine was delivered to his associates in Chicago, Lopez became responsible for the debt on the deal. The reason: Drug Enforcement Administration agents had seized cash from a courier that was meant to pay off Lopez’s debt.
On Sept. 14, 2001, federal agents intercepted a telephone call in which Espinosa, Avila and Lopez allegedly discussed the outstanding payment on the Chicago transaction. During the call, Espinosa asked Lopez to pay for the shipment, according to statements filed with both Espinosa’s and Avila’s plea agreements.
On Dec. 10, 2001, agents recorded another phone call in which Espinosa and Lopez discussed an “upcoming cocaine shipment” that would be used to pay off the latter’s debt on the Chicago deal, according to Avila’s plea statement. Avila did not participate in that phone call.
The shipment contained nine tons of cocaine, which Mexican authorities seized that December after the load was transferred from one vessel to another off the Pacific port of Manzanillo.
What Espinosa, as well as Avila, did not know at the time: Lopez, also known as Pedro Juan Osorio, had been arrested in Miami that December and become a cooperating source for U.S. drug agents. In 2003, he was sentenced to two months in prison after pleading guilty in Miami federal court.