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  • - [Interviewer] Do you think your life

  • would be a good movie?

  • - That's really up to others.

  • I've had a lot of fun.

  • I'm Mike McGowan, I'm a former FBI Special Agent.

  • We had an opportunity as law enforcement

  • to make an investigation against

  • the world's most powerful drug organization

  • in which we targeted the Sinaloa Cartel and Chapo Guzman.

  • So taking almost up to a year to prepare this

  • we finally set the first meeting

  • to take place in Florida in early 2010.

  • If you were to write a script from that day

  • this is how it would look.

  • The Sinaloa Cartel was responsible

  • for hundreds of murders in Mexico

  • and billions of dollars of narcotics

  • being transferred throughout the world.

  • And I remember clearly to this day

  • that the hairs on the back of my neck stood up

  • because to have an opportunity

  • in 2009 to take a run at Guzman

  • and the Sinaloa Cartel was unheard of.

  • When we first began this investigation

  • we had a cooperating witness who came to us

  • and said, "I can give you the Sinaloa Cartel."

  • He choose to cooperate with the FBI

  • in order to have some of his property,

  • which had been seized in his earlier cases

  • returned to him and his family.

  • Chapo Guzman wanted to set up a pipeline

  • from Mexico into Europe to supply all of Europe.

  • So we put a plan into effect in which

  • he believed we would be drug traffickers

  • out of Europe and specifically Italy.

  • After the informant went into Mexico

  • he was able to convince the Sinaloa Cartel

  • that the United States would be

  • okay to have meetings only.

  • We wouldn't buy or sell drugs in the meetings,

  • we would simply be businessmen

  • getting together to have discussions in a neutral country.

  • We intended to represent that we were

  • a Sicilian crime organization from Italy

  • and the intention was to use a very experienced

  • undercover agent who spoke Sicilian.

  • That agent unfortunately retired

  • shortly before the investigation started,

  • so at the last minute we had our Sicilian speaker

  • not available.

  • We looked around and decided eventually

  • that I would represent the head

  • of the organization from Sicily.

  • That's a little bit difficult, I obviously

  • don't speak Sicilian.

  • I sometimes struggle with English,

  • but working in concert with three Spanish speaking

  • undercover agents we felt we could overcome

  • the language barrier needed to target

  • the Sinaloa Cartel.

  • The meeting takes place in an ocean front condominium

  • overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Florida.

  • You looked out for miles and miles, beautiful ocean.

  • You take out wine, you take out food,

  • you take out photographs.

  • You turn on a soccer match.

  • We spent a lot of time preparing the room.

  • The room is also equipped with audio and video recording

  • and each agent has a responsibility

  • of knowing where the cameras are,

  • where you want the subjects to sit.

  • So it's pretty much scripted

  • and we went through it carefully.

  • So myself and the three other FBI undercover agents

  • had specific and different roles in this case.

  • The first gentleman that I worked with

  • was a longtime friend of mine

  • who is an expert in transportation.

  • His job was to get contraband from point A

  • to point B and he knew all shipping routes,

  • transportation systems, etc.

  • This gentleman had worked in South Florida

  • for many, many years and had the

  • South Florida look, clothing.

  • He had the Tommy Bahamas

  • and the right sunglasses, the right car.

  • When you work around the country

  • there are certain parts where every criminal looks the same

  • and South Florida is one of those.

  • We had a second gentleman who was named Antonio,

  • he was responsible for our ports in foreign countries.

  • We knew we were going to receive

  • large amounts of cocaine so we had decided

  • that we were going to use ports

  • or shipping as opposed to airlines.

  • So we had ports that we used literally all over the world

  • outside of the United States that we have access to

  • through foreign law enforcement cooperation.

  • And then the third undercover was my underling Patricio,

  • he spoke both Spanish and Italian.

  • He was going to replace me.

  • I was the old man.

  • I was the head of the organization,

  • soon to be retired, he was my right hand man,

  • my most trusted associate.

  • If anyone spoke to me privately

  • it would be Patricio my number two,

  • so again it's very important to set up this dynamic

  • that they see a pecking order.

  • They see a criminal organization

  • that has a chain of command in it.

  • And we have to convince a member

  • of the Sinaloa Cartel we're criminals

  • just like they are.

  • They're very, very cognizant of who appears to be real

  • and who does not, so we had to sell ourselves

  • as a criminal organization and that's

  • why we mirrored many of the same roles

  • that the Sinaloa Cartel had.

  • And representing the Sinaloa Cartel

  • was a gentleman named Manuel Jesus Guzman,

  • who was identified as a blood relative of Chapo Guzman.

  • He would be Chapo's spokesmen during these negotiations.

  • Manuel Guzman entered the United States,

  • we sent the informant to pick him up

  • at the Miami International Airport

  • and deliver him to our ocean front condominium

  • for negotiations.

  • So as we're waiting for the meeting to happen

  • as I said, I was dressed appropriately

  • as a crime boss and I noticed my friends

  • and fellow agents were nervous as was I

  • and it was typical and natural to be nervous.

  • We had a lot expected of us and just prior

  • to Manuel arriving at the condominium

  • I went in to use the men's room

  • and double check everything and I looked behind the door

  • and I found a gaudy purple velour bathrobe

  • that for some reason I thought would fit the scene better.

  • So without telling the other agents

  • I got out of my $5000 suit

  • and I put on this hideous velour bathrobe.

  • I walked out into the room and the place cracked up,

  • everybody went nuts laughing it really broke the ice,

  • everybody calmed down and at first

  • I was gonna go back and change

  • and then I said, "He would never suspect

  • "this is the FBI."

  • So I kept on the purple velour bathrobe

  • for the remainder of the meeting.

  • You have to understand when you're an undercover agent

  • you have to do things that the bad guys

  • don't expect FBI agents would do.

  • Manuel arrives, he was dressed in a business suit

  • as if it was a important business meeting.

  • So Manuel enters the room in the company

  • of the informant, he's now meeting the three undercovers.

  • I'm out on the deck sunning myself

  • in my purple bathrobe and after five or 10 minutes

  • I don't see him coming out where he was supposed

  • to be introduced to me.

  • So I went inside and low and behold

  • we found out that Manuel has a fear of heights,

  • which we didn't know.

  • So here we are 30 stories up on the ocean

  • and he's hunkered down in a corner

  • of the building and he won't come anywhere near

  • the camera range.

  • It took awhile, but we were able to calm him down

  • at least enough to come out and sit on the couch

  • and begin negotiations with us.

  • I make a point of introducing myself

  • and then walking immediately away from him

  • because I don't want to talk to him at that point.

  • You have to understand we set up relationships,

  • so if I was the old man or I was the El Jefe, the boss,

  • I wouldn't negotiate with Manuel.

  • I'd only negotiate with Chapo.

  • And I stayed out on the porch,

  • I ignored him for the first couple of hours.

  • So the other three undercovers

  • have the responsibility for making him comfortable.

  • I also had a very attractive female FBI agent with me

  • who was my date for the meeting

  • and so I'm literally getting a suntan

  • and putting lotion on, having a drink,

  • relaxing with my lady friend and try to make it

  • as natural as possible.

  • Patricio my number two would come out,

  • whisper in my ear and I would whisper something back

  • and send the message in.

  • From where I was outside I could see in

  • and I could see the transformation

  • in his uneasiness roll away.

  • At one point he started slapping the hand

  • of one of the undercovers like they were old buddies.

  • I could tell by the body language

  • that things were going well.

  • When you negotiate a massive drug deal it takes hours,

  • it's a very long negotiation and I waited

  • 'till it was going well until I came in

  • and when I did come in as we had all agreed

  • I was never gonna speak directly to Manuel,

  • so I would just sit there and listen,

  • get up go get something to eat.

  • I wasn't being rude to him,

  • but I wasn't waiting on every word

  • that's what my underlings are there for.

  • He offered to send an initial shipment

  • of 5000 kilos, which if you know anything about cocaine

  • that's a lot of cocaine.

  • And we said, "No."

  • It's the first deal no one's doing 5000 kilos.

  • So here you have cops turning down

  • the Sinaloa Cartel.

  • A lot of cops would say, "Yeah, give me all five.",

  • that's not how drug negotiations go.

  • We had to lower the quantities we were interested in.

  • We wanted to set up a system that would last for years

  • and years, not just one deal.

  • It's like any business deal, initial meeting

  • the groups hit it off, they're throwing some numbers

  • back and forth and now they're gonna go

  • and regroup and have more discussions.

  • He didn't even want to leave.

  • He was having such a good time, seriously.

  • 2011, we began to exchange what's called test loads

  • with the Sinaloa Cartel.

  • They would send vessels from Mexico

  • to Europe, no drugs would be on those vessels.

  • There were plantains, pineapples,

  • everything under the sun except cocaine,

  • but you have to do that if you're a real drug trafficker

  • that's how it works.

  • So we had to be patient and pay for this.

  • After almost three years of investigation

  • in July of 2012 the Sinaloa Cartel

  • shipped us approximately 700 pounds,

  • I believe it's 346 kilograms of cocaine,

  • which in conjunction with the Spanish National Police

  • the FBI seized in Al Jazeera, Spain.

  • As a result of those arrests and subsequent investigation

  • we were able to charge in the United States

  • Chapo and eight of his executive board members

  • with drug trafficking.

  • Even though Chapo was in Mexico

  • we couldn't get our hands on him

  • at that point he was indicted in our case,

  • which was later one of a number of cases

  • that lead to Guzman's eventual extradition

  • into the United States.

- [Interviewer] Do you think your life

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