CHICAGO – A reputed lieutenant of recently captured drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is scheduled to change his plea to guilty in a federal trafficking case in Chicago.
Alfredo Vasquez Hernandez' change-of-plea hearing is set for later Friday. It comes less than two weeks after Guzman's arrest in Mexico.
Mexican authorities extradited the 58-year-old Hernandez to Chicago in 2012. Government filings describe him as a talented logistics chief who organized cocaine shipments by train to Chicago for the Sinaloa cartel.
His attorney, Paul Brayman, made the surprise announcement that Hernandez would change his plea at a pretrial hearing last week. His trial was to have started May 12. Brayman has said Hernandez' decision wasn't influenced by Guzman's capture.
His decision also was not part of any plea deal with prosecutors.