Sinaloa Cartel snitch who ran El Chapo’s cocaine train network gets light sentence

Snitches get stitches — or sweetheart prison sentences.

The Sinaloa Cartel’s former “director of transportation” turned government witness against Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman dodged a possible life sentence on Thursday — and may do as little as one year behind bars for cocaine trafficking.

Tirso Martinez Sanchez got the soft sentence from Brooklyn federal Judge Brian Cogan, who noted that the snitch risked his life to give US authorities crucial intel on one of the world’s most bloodthirsty drug cartels.

“He gave it everything he had and he had extremely valuable information … in addition to the risk that he undertook,” Cogan said. “Of course I have to recognize, at the same time, that one of the reasons his value was so high was that his position in the organization was so high.”

Cogan gave the Sinaloa’s former “Train Daddy” a nine-year sentence — minus six years’ time served in US and Mexican prisons.

Cogan said the US Bureau of Prisons may also decide that Martinez should get two additional years of credit for time he served behind bars in Mexico — which would mean he would only do one more year of hard time.

Last week, Cogan also green-lit a bid by federal prosecutors to seize $2 million worth of Martinez’s assets.

Cogan handed down the sentence after hearing Martinez beg for mercy through a Spanish translator.

“Believe me, my remorse is sincere,” Martinez said. “So much so that years ago I … changed my life.”

From 2000 to 2003, Martinez, known as “El Futbolista” for his love of the sport, served as the Sinaloa Cartel’s “director of transportation” his lawyer said at the sentencing on Thursday.

Tirso Martinez Sanchez
Tirso Martinez

The job included managing a cocaine train between Mexico and New York City that netted between $500 million and $800 million during that period.

Martinez’s took the position after a predecessor fatally shot himself in the face and another died on an operating table while receiving plastic surgery, Martinez told jurors when he took the stand in December 2018 against Guzman.

The cartel moved massive amounts of cocaine by train, using cooking oil to conceal their merchandise from authorities, Martinez testified.

El Chapo had a noted love for trains — jurors learned during the kingpin’s trial that he had a private zoo that he toured with a tiny locomotive. Guzman was sentenced last year to life in prison plus 30 years.

Martinez told jurors that he made somewhere in the neighborhood of $15 million and $20 million with the cartel.

But after his daughter was born in 2003, Martinez became “dismayed and horrified” by the cartel’s violent ways, Peter Quijano, Martinez’s lawyer, said.

In 2008, Martinez kicked his “serious cocaine habit” and stayed clean in the following years — though he remained “addicted to cockfighting,” Quijano said to Cogan.

“I don’t think that is a federal crime,” Quijano said.

“Actually I think it is,” Cogan replied.

Martinez eventually ghosted on the cartel and was extradited to Brooklyn in 2014. He pleaded guilty to importation and distribution charges that carry a possible life sentence under federal guidelines.

Quijano declined to comment on the sentence.

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