SAN ANTONIO – Testimony began Wednesday in federal court in the trial of Marciano Millan-Vasquez, a man government officials say is a member of the Zetas drug cartel in Mexico.
Milllan-Vasquez faces murder, conspiracy and drug charges.
“The government’s case contains no physical evidence and is based solely on the word of a paid government informant,” said the defendant’s attorney, Jaime Cavazos.
The government’s first witness was Rodrigo Uribe-Tapia, 41, who was a former member of the Zetas and is now an informant for the federal government.
He identified more than two dozen pictures of men he claims were members of the Zetas, including Vasquez, who also was known as “Chano.”
As Uribe-Tapia identified pictures of Zeta members, he named Commandant Raul Lechuga as “one of the most bloodthirsty commanders the Zetas had.” It’s a word he used frequently to describe the cartel.
Uribe-Tapia provided prosecutors with a chain of command chart, showing positions held by the men. He said Millan-Vasquez was once what the cartel in Piedras Negras refers to as a “plaza boss.”
Uribe-Tapia testified that a plaza boss “controls all drug distribution in a plaza and controls the town’s police force.”
If Millan-Vasquez is found guilty, he faces a maximum sentence of life in federal prison.