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Star witness against ‘El Chapo’ sentenced to 15 years

Vicente Zambada Niebla, aka "El Vicentillo", one of the leaders of the Sinaloa drug cartel, led by fugitive Joaquin Loera, aka "El Chapo", is presented to the press at the attorney general's office in Mexico City March 19, 2009. Zambada Niebla was arrested Wednesday by army and police personnel. AFP PHOTO/Luis Acosta (Photo credit should read LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images)

CHICAGO — A star government witness at the New York trial of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was sentenced to 15 years in prison Thursday in federal court in Chicago.

Vicente Zambada was sentenced for his role in trafficking thousands of pounds of cocaine and heroin into the U.S. using speedboats, submarines and jumbo jets.

Zambada would have been looking at a sentence of life in prison if not for his testimony last year against Guzman and his 10 years spilling secrets about the inner working of the Sinaloa cartel that prosecutors say led to charges against over 100 people.

He’s the son of another Sinaloa kingpin, Ismael Zambada. Prosecutors say he tried to withdraw from his father’s illegal business but kept getting sucked back in.

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