Posted: May 14, 2014 6:31 PM
Updated: May 14, 2014 6:31 PM
EL PASO, Texas (AP) The trial of a man authorities say was a bodyguard to a now-dead Mexican drug cartel leader is underway after prosecutors and defense attorneys outlined their arguments on murder, gun and drug trafficking charges.
Federal prosecutor John Johnston says witnesses and evidence will show 36-year-old Rigoberto Ruiz Alatorre smuggled drugs into the U.S. for Gabino Salas Valenciano and killed a man in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 2006 as part of the operation they ran.
Salas Valenciano is believed to have run the Sinaloa drug cartel's operations across the border from El Paso County until Mexican authorities killed him last year.
Defense attorney Randolph Ortega says that prosecution witnesses were paid or given reduced sentences and that the statement Ruiz Alatorre gave federal agents was "molded to fit what they wanted."