The wives of Chicago cocaine traffickers connected to the Sinaloa cartel, Margarito Flores and Pedro Flores plan to plead guilty to money laundering charges for collecting, concealing and spending ill-gotten gains from their husbands.
The Flores twins, Pedro and Margarito, made a fortune as lieutenants for Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera.
But the brothers surrendered to US officials in Mexico in 2008 and agreed to work together against their boss, who was convicted in a massive conspiracy case and is now serving life in prison thanks to Pedro Flores' testimony.
The twins, who grew up in Little Village, have served 14 years in prison for supplying tons of cocaine to Chicago and other cities and are in witness protection.
But last year Pedro Flores' wife, Vivianna Lopez, and Margarito Flores' wife, Valerie Gaytan, were indicted in Chicago on federal money laundering charges.
They are accused of helping to collect millions of dollars from their husbands' drug debt and spending the money on everything from vacations to private school fees for their children.
On Thursday, attorneys representing the two women told US District Judge Matthew Kennelly that they now plan to plead guilty. They will make it official at a hearing scheduled for next month.
During a trial late last year at Dirksen Federal Courthouse in Loop, Kennelly dismissed Lopez and Gaytan's assertion that they had been granted immunity from prosecution as part of their husband's agreement with prosecutors.
The wives have been candid with prosecutors about the more than $4 million in drug proceeds they stashed away in 2010.
But Kennelly said there was no evidence that prosecutors gave them approval to continue collecting and spending the drug money without “lifetime” consequences.
Lopez and Gaytan — who wrote a 2017 book, “Cartel Wives,” describing the joys and sorrows of being married to a major cocaine smuggler – are accused of continuing to help hide and spend their husbands' drug proceeds long after 2010.
Vivianna Lopez's aunt Laura Lopez, who has also been charged in a money laundering scheme, also plans to change her plea to guilty, her lawyer said Thursday.