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Ex-Mexican legislator linked to drug kingpin 'El Chapo' arrested in U.S.

By Ed Adamczyk

June 23 (UPI) -- A former Mexican legislator linked to drug cartel leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was charged with cocaine trafficking in a San Diego court.

Lucero Guadalupe Sanchez Lopez was detained as she attempted to cross the U.S.-Mexico border on Wednesday, and charged Thursday with conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

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Prosecutors said wiretaps from 2013 and 2014 indicate she communicated with drug cartel operatives about drug money. They also demonstrate that she was present when Guzman notoriously escaped arrest in 2014 by running though the sewers in Sinaloa state, Mexico, after he left his prison through a tunnel dug under his bathroom, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Sanchez Lopez was a legislator in Sinaloa.

Her lawyer, Fransisco Verdugo, said Sanchez Lopez arrived in the United States to seek asylum and was unaware she was the focus of a U.S. investigation.

"If she had [known], she wouldn't have gone there," Verdugo said Thursday.

Guzman was arrested and extradited to New York City, where he waits a trial. He was indicted for allegedly leading a continuing criminal enterprise.

Magistrate Judge Barbara Major ordered Sanchez Lopez held without bail because she is regarded as a flight risk, KGTV-TV, San Diego, reported.

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