SAN ANTONIO – Federal prosecutors and defense attorneys gave closing arguments Tuesday in the trial of Zetas cartel boss Marciano "Chano" Millan-Vasquez, who is accused in the slayings of hundreds of men, women and children while trafficking drugs from Mexico.
Hours later the jury came back with a guilty conviction on all 10 charges Millan-Vasquez faced.
With no physical evidence, the prosecution asked the 14 jurors to use "common sense" in considering what the federal witnesses had to say. The defense countered by calling the witnesses with connections to the drug trade career criminals looking for a payout from the U.S. government.
The prosecution went over witness testimony describing the killing and burning of children, saying that Millan-Vasquez was the director of huge shipments of drugs across the border as a Zetas plaza boss in Piedras Negras, Mexico.
The defense argued that no relatives of the victims testified and described the government informants as hardened criminals looking for lesser sentences.
"That was for the government to prove,” Jaime Cavazos, Millian-Vasquez’ attorney, said. And the only proof that the government provided was testimony of its cooperators. There was no direct evidence (connecting) them to the organization."
However, Russ Leachman with the U.S. Attorney’s Office said it was much more than that.
"Eleven different people who are familiar with the defendant, familiar with the activities he was involved in, but there was a bunch of direct evidence too that's been omitted in the coverage and the jury heard about that and that was a big point during the trial."
Millian-Vasquez will be back in court on Oct. 28 for sentencing.