Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Jurors in the trial of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman read texts between the accused Mexican drug lord and his closest confidants Wednesday.
FBI Agent Steven Marston said the agency obtained warrants to intercept hundreds of text messages from 2012 via the spyware Guzman installed on the phones of his wife Emma Coronel Aispuro, associates and purported mistress Augustina Cabanillas Acosta, The Los Angeles Times reported.
The FBI turned the Sinaloa Cartel's technology guru, Cristian Rodriguez, into an informant, exchanging $460,000 and an offer of protection for him to unlock the cartel's encryption for the U.S. government from 2011 to 2013.
Rodriguez said Guzman, 61, had him install spying software on about 50 cellphones belonging to people who worked for the cartel, allowing him to listen in on them remotely using microphone devices.
"It was like his toy," Rodriguez said. "He would call a person to their extension, they would talk, they would hang up, and then he would call another line to open the microphone and listen to what was being said about him."
Guzman and Cabanillas Acosta also corresponded on drug deals, discussing plans to arrange a boat to pick up kilos of cocaine off the California coast near Los Angeles and a 550-kilo marijuana boat delivery that went awry.
Cabanillas Acosta once received a message intended for another woman and indicated she was aware Guzman was monitoring their conversations.
"I'm going to play along to see what else this idiot tells me," she wrote to one of her friends.
The messages also revealed that he referred to Coronel as "love," "darling" and "queen" and she in turn called him "Don Joaquin," "Mr. Joaquin" and "Papi." He also referred to Cabanillas Acosta as "love."
Marston read the jury a series of texts from 2012 in which Guzman warned Coronel of a raid on his Cabo San Lucas home instructing her to hide any guns she had at the property in a "hidden compartment" and delete the conversation.
After the raid he informed her that he had to jump out of a window when law enforcement arrived at the house. He also added he had to leave two people behind, but didn't mention Cabanillas Acosta who was also arrested alongside the other people in the raid.