El Chapo Hitman Used ‘Murder Room’ for Executions Near Border: Witness

January 9, 2019 Updated: January 9, 2019

A hitman for notorious cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman kept a sound-proofed “murder room” for executions, it was revealed on Jan. 7.

“He took me once to a house, where the floor was just white, tiled,” cartel informant Edgar Galvan said of Antonio “Jaguar” Marrufo, the executioner, according to the New York Post. “That’s where he killed people.”

The house was in Mexico’s Ciudad Juarez, but it is not clear where the execution room was located.

Galvan said the room was sound-proofed. “No noise came out,” he said, adding that there was also a “drainage outlet” on the floor of the room.

“In that house, no one comes out,” Galvan told jurors.

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This man, a former U.S. military staffer, identified only as “Ivan,” worked for Galvan. (US Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn)

Galvan said he met Marrufo after he divorced in 2003 and rented a home near Ciudad Juarez, located just south of El Paso, Texas along the U.S.-Mexico border, reported The New York Times. He and Marrufo then became friends.

He began working with Marrufo years after they met, moving guns and marijuana as well as Mexican cocaine shipments through houses around El Paso, reported The Times.

In 2011, Galvan was arrested, telling jurors he served eight years of a 24-year prison term while Marrufo was in jail in Mexico, the Post reported.

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Recaptured drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is escorted by soldiers at the hangar belonging to the office of the Attorney General in Mexico City, Mexico Jan. 8, 2016. (REUTERS/Henry Romero/File Photo)

At the time, he said, Marrufo was “cleaning” the city of Ciudad Juarez of the Sinaloa cartel’s rivals, which meant he wanted to “kill all of the people” so Guzman could take over the area.

Galvan said he never killed anyone for the cartel and never met Guzman.

In his testimony, Galvan said he moved AK-47 rifles but once came across a 50-caliber machine gun, pictured earlier in the article.

Guzman, 61, was extradited to the United States in 2018 after escaping a Mexican prison.

‘Nasally Undertone’

On Jan. 8, FBI special agent Steven Marston testified the 61-year-old Guzman was easily identifiable by his higher-pitched voice, which had “kind of a sing-songy nature to it” and a “nasally undertone,” Reuters reported.

The phone call excerpts that wafted through the Brooklyn courtroom on Tuesday included discussions of dealings with local officials, including one where Guzman appears to admonish an associate to be careful dealing with police.

“Well, you taught us to be a wolf, acting like a wolf,” the associate replied.

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Emma Coronel Aispuro, wife of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, talks with reporters as she leaves Brooklyn federal court following her husband’s court appearance, in New York on Feb. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams)

Marston said the FBI tapped into more than 800 calls on the encrypted system with the help of a cooperating witness, Cristian Rodriguez.

Guzman’s lawyers have portrayed their client as a scapegoat for what they called Sinaloa’s real leader, Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, who also faces U.S. charges but remains at large.

The agent said the system’s servers were moved to the Netherlands, where they “would not be suspicious” to Sinaloa, and that calls were intercepted from April 2011 to January 2012.

Jurors had previously heard from former Guzman associates testifying about multi-ton drug shipments, deadly wars between rival drug lords, and corruption among Mexican public officials.

The defendant mostly sat quietly during testimony, but waved enthusiastically to his wife in the courtroom before it started.

Other details were not provided in court.

The trial is expected to last a few more months.

Reuters contributed to this report.