Wife of Margarito Flores, Valerie Gaytán, gets 3.5 years in El Chapo money laundering case

Valerie Gaytán and Vivianna Lopez face consequences for ties to El Chapo's empire, laundering millions from drug sales.

Valerie Gaytán, also known as Olivia Flores, was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for a money laundering scheme linked to El Chapo. Gaytán is the wife of Margarito Flores, who, along with his twin brother Pedro, cooperated with the US government against their former boss, Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Both twin brothers were once considered El Chapo’s most trusted allies. Gaytán and Pedro Flores’ wife, Vivianna Lopez, also known as “Mia Flores,” proudly branded themselves as the “Wives of the Cartel” in print and TV.

Gaytán pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering earlier this year, admitting in a plea agreement with prosecutors that she laundered and spent at least $2.3 million over a 12-year period. Her sister-in-law, Vivianna Lopez, 43, married to Margarito’s twin brother Pedro Flores, was given an identical 42-month term in July for spending about $800,000 in ill-gotten gains. Prosecutors say that they handed over $4.2m that their husbands had but at the same time stashed away millions more and hid it away, including under floorboards. But Gaytan admitted in April to keeping $2.3m.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly handed the sentence to Valerie Gaytan after she apologized during a sentencing hearing at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse for stashing away $2.3 million in drug money. The feds pointed out that the $2.3 million Valerie Gaytan stashed was generated “through the sale of… thousands of kilograms of drugs in the United States … that harmed individuals and communities in countless ways”.

Gaytán warns of ‘fast life’ in her husband’s podcast

On her husband Margarito Flores Jr.’s “Surviving El Chapo” podcast, Gaytán says she was relieved she got three and a half years in prison for money laundering, not the five years prosecutors wanted. Still, “it is scary”. Gaytán once lived in luxury on a mountaintop estate in Mexico with her husband Margarito Flores Jr., the Chicago-raised cocaine trafficker who, with his twin brother Pedro Flores, were once the city’s cocaine kings.

The untold stories of El Chapo’s cartel wives

Recently, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly sentenced Valerie Gaytan to 3.5 years in prison after she admitted to stashing away $2.3 million in drug money. Matching the sentence given earlier this summer to her sister-in-law, Vivianna Lopez, the court heard about how their husbands’ drug-trafficking activities led them into a money-laundering conspiracy. This scheme eventually caught up with both women.