Vicente Bermudez Zacarias, the judge presiding over legal proceedings involving Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, was shot and killed while jogging near his home in Metepec, Mexico, a city 45 miles west of Mexico City. Zacarias was 37.
Although Zacarias served as the judge on high-profile cases involving drug lords – he presided over legal proceedings for Guzman, Los Cuinis cartel leader Abigael Gonzalez Valencia and former Zetas cartel chief Miguel Trevino – he was not provided with protective measures despite the nature of his cases, San Antonio Express-News reports.
Zacarias was shot in the head Monday by an assailant who fled the scene before authorities arrived. The judge later died of his wounds at a hospital.
It’s unclear whether there is any connection between Zacarias’ murder and the high profile cases he oversaw. El Chapo is currently in a prison in the border town of Cuidad Juarez, Mexico while awaiting extradition to the United States to face a litany of drug trafficking charges.
Guzman’s lawyer has lobbied, so far unsuccessfully, for the drug lord to be returned to the “Altiplano” maximum-security facility west of Mexico City – near where Zacarias was gunned down – that El Chapo initially escaped from through a secret tunnel in July 2015. The drug lord was recaptured in January 2016, soon after he spoke to actor Sean Penn for a Rolling Stone interview.
Following Zacarias’ murder, Mexico president Enrique Pena Nieto pledged to have his attorney general investigate the killing. The Supreme Court of Mexico also condemned Zacarias’ murder and ordered all courts to observe a minute of silence for the district judge.