Drug Cartel Infiltrates Mexico's Supreme Court

By McCarton Ackerman 08/13/12

A Supreme Court official is accused of being a double agent for Mexico's most wanted man: "El Chapo" Guzman.

Barrera Vite "had ties" to the Sinaloa cartel.
Photo via

The long tentacles of Mexico's drug cartels seem to reach even into the country's Supreme Court: a court official has been arrested and arraigned for being in the pay of the Mexico's most powerful drug-trafficking outfit. Juan Carlos de la Barrera Vite was apparently the inside man for Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin "El Chapo" (Shorty) Guzman and took orders from Felipe Cabrera Sarabia, who was arrested last December and allegedly ran Sinaloa's operations across Durango state and the southern part of Chihuahua state. Barrera Vite primarily worked as a clerk in the Supreme Court, but began performing administrative duties in the personnel area in recent years for Justice Sergio Valls. He allegedly handed over confidential information, but the Supreme Court is insisting that Valls "did not have nor does he have any links to the acts alleged against the said person" and "at no time did sensitive information from the judicial body or its work get compromised." Guzman escaped from a Mexican maximum-security prison in 2001 and has managed to defy arrest since then. As Mexico's most wanted man, he also made the Forbes list of the world's richest people with an estimated net worth of around $1 billion.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.