As vengeful drug lord El Chapo awaits trial inside a Manhattan jail cell, two American moms hide in the shadows — terrified for the lives of their children.
And yet they hold nothing back in their explosive new tell-all book “Cartel Wives,” where they detail life in the viciously brutal and highly luxurious world of Mexican drug dealers.
Their husbands, identical twins Pedro and Margarito Flores Jr., were once the golden boys of both the Sinaloa Cartel and Beltran Leyva Organization.
Known as Junior and Peter, the Americans from Chicago’s West Side moved billions of dollars of cartel drugs into the U.S.
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And then they went rogue.
In 2008, the brothers turned federal informants, collecting evidence against the most dangerous criminals in the world.
The pair, currently secreted in the federal prison system, are expected as star witnesses if Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman comes to trial.
Now their wives, identified only by the pseudonyms Olivia and Mia, cower in protective custody. Both are mothers of two young children whose lives are also at stake from the unforgiving cartel.
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The women claim they wrote the book as a cautionary tale. But there’s an alternate narrative: When their husbands are released in 2021, their once obscenely plentiful cash will be in short supply.
Olivia, 42, and Mia, 37, shared one thing in common from the first. Both were daughters of Chicago cops, although Mia was the more sheltered of the two.
While still a teenager, Olivia had her own crew running drugs out of Mexico.
By the time she met Junior, she’d done time and was married to Kevin “K” Garcia, a convicted felon and flashy gangster affiliated with the Latin Kings in Chicago. Olivia took a lead position at his music label, Dinero Records.
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She claims K worked with DMX, Fat Joe, Busta Rhymes and the rising star Kanye West. After Garcia was gunned down by rival gang members in 2003, Olivia continued to produce hip-hop artists.
She also married Junior. Her new hubby and twin Peter were major players on the Chicago drug scene. Junior, who hung with chart-topping R. Kelly, forged the connections. Peter handled logistics.
Mia, a former beautician, was living in a Michigan Avenue condo purchased for her by Peter. They frequently strolled down the block to Chanel and Cartier until the feds ruined all the fun.
Olivia and Junior had already relocated to Mexico in 2004, settling close to his father. Margarito Sr. had raised his sons in the drug trade.
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Warned that law enforcement was hunting the twins, Peter fled south as a fugitive.
Mia soon followed. The couples enjoyed an idyllic life, sharing a remodeled 10-bedroom ranch house at the peak of a towering mountain.
But the big city of Guadalajara beckoned. While there, Olivia claims to have scored a million-dollar deal with Universal Records. Building good relationships with “Cool, Dre and Scott Storch,” she worked with producers like West, Swizz Beatz and the Trackmasters.
Life soon soured when Peter was kidnapped in 2005. Betrayed by a trusted associate, there was nowhere to turn but to El Chapo.
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The powerful head of the Sinaloa Cartel regarded the two Americans as nothing more than low-level distributors.
Junior bribed his way into the drug lord’s Sierra Madre compound east of Culiacan. He pressed the detailed ledgers Peter kept into Chapo’s hands.
El Chapo noticed the brothers moved plenty of product and kept up with their bills. Peter, emaciated and sporting open wounds, was returned to the family.
The good times were about to roll. The brothers were summoned back to Chapo’s stunning home. On the way, they walked past a man tied to a tree.
His body was the body so bloodied, it was impossible to tell if was dead or alive.
El Chapo proved a gracious host whose always-on call chefs prepared an amazing spread. For dessert, he offered an opportunity to work directly for him.
Already connected at a high level to the BLO, it was amazing fortune for two men regarded as American nobodies by other cartel players.
By 2006, the Flores brothers were clearing up to $7 million a month, flooding Los Angeles with cocaine. From there, trucks radiated to all the major U.S. cities, with Chicago the main hub.
Meanwhile, El Chapo came to adore Junior and Peter, embracing them almost as family. The twins were frequent guests of the drug lord, which Chapo kept fully stocked with available young women.
He preferred virgins.
So much cash was rolling in, Mia writes, that she became almost oblivious to it. In the bedroom next to hers in their sprawling penthouse, Junior and Peter kept as much as $3 million tied in bundles. She’d just grab two or three stacks as needed.
At the end of 2007, the Florios met with two associates from China who trafficked five-gallon tubs filled with pseudoephedrine powder. The business deal concluded with a night out at a Puerto Vallarta strip club.
Olivia and Mia tagged along. One and all were sipping champagne and dancing when an assault team burst through the doors, their AK-47s drawn.
Manhandled into an armored SUV with Junior and Peter, Olivia managed to surreptitiously open her Nextel and press the two-way feature. She couldn’t remove her finger or it would beep.
Screaming at her masked kidnapper, she started negotiating their release.
“The U.S. is coming for you and you’re going to spend the rest of your life in prison,” he snarled in reply.
Suddenly the masked man’s phone rang. The Mexican immigration office received the word: Arturo Beltran Leyva, head of the Beltran-Leyva Cartel, had reached out.
Adrian Flores, the twins’ older brother, picked up Olivia’s call and summoned the cartels. The drug lords, including El Chapo, were in a huddle, willing to free $5 million sitting on a runway nearby to buy their freedom.
It wasn’t going to be enough. The U.S. Marshals were on the way. Mexico’s Agencia Federal de Investigacion pulled on their full war gear. The cartels had blocked off all roads to Puerto Vallarta.
The standoff ended when the AFI were confronted by 100 cartel soldiers with their AK-47s ready to fire. The Florios and their waives were driven back to Guadalajara in armored cars — and released.
It was a turning point. Shortly afterward the Sinaloa and BLO cartels went to war. By 2008, the Florios were pumping $50 million worth of cocaine into the U.S. every month.
It was, nevertheless, time for the Americans to go home and get a deal.
The Florios’s agreement was contingent on trapping El Chapo and other cartel kingpins in self-incriminating conversations on tape. The only promise extracted in return by their lawyer was leniency in sentencing.
Harrowing months followed as the twins covertly secured evidence incriminating Mexico’s most dangerous criminals.
El Chapo proved more elusive than most.
Finally, late in the year, Peter got caught narco-lord on tape negotiating the price of a twenty-kilo shipment of heroin.
Soon after, the brothers were ordered to report to the airport. Olivia and Mia, their children strapped into car seats, made their own race for the border before the cartels figured out what just happened.
The journey was 1,400 very long miles.
In the U.S., the two women refused to enter the Federal Witness Protection Program. Living under assumed identities, each was forced to move several times to settle within reach of whatever prison houses their husbands.
Olivia admits she collected some cash on her road trip back north.
“I’ll be honest,” she writes. “It was millions of dollars. But when you lived the way we lived in Mexico, that kind of money doesn’t seem abnormal.
“We’d actually be downsizing in the United States.”
In 2010, the authorities ordered the money returned. Olivia recounts loading an Audi Q7 with bins of cash deposited into Junior’s account.
It wouldn’t stay there too long.
On Jan. 27, 2015, the Florio brothers were each sentenced to 14 years and ordered to forfeit more than $3.5 million.
Both are imprisoned, separately, under the Witness Security Program. As such, they’re currently two of 500 at-risk informants shifted among maxium-security penitentiaries in remote locations whenever a threat is detected.
Their names are on the extradition papers of high-level cartel members. Both Olivia and Mia are terrified for their own lives and the lives of their children, particularly after El Chapo’s arrival in the U.S.
“We’re terrified about Chapo being anywhere in the United States,” Olivia writes.
El Chapo pleaded not guilty to charges of murder conspiracy, drug trafficking and money laundering. If the world’s most-featured drug lord stands trial, Junior and Peter will be star witnesses.
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