Those waiting on a trial date for Vicente “El Vicentillo” Zambada-Niebla must keep waiting.
Federal judge Ruben Castillo said this afternoon at a court hearing that he won’t be setting a trial date until at least February 27th. The delay was caused by motions to sever filed by Zambada-Niebla’s co-defendants in the case, Tomas Arévalo Rentería and Alfredo Vázquez Hernández.
Judge Castillo asked assistant U.S. attorney Thomas Shakeshaft when he could file a consolidated reply to their severance motion. Shakeshaft said he could have it in by the end of January.
Attorneys for the other defendants requested “three weeks” to respond, for February 22. A status hearing will be held five days later.
One defense attorney suggested his trial schedule would be booked until late August, but the judge didn’t seem moved by the lawyer’s busy schedule.
“Don’t be surprised if I set a June trial date,” Judge Castillo told the court, suggesting that he has enough seniority on the bench to have other cases moved.
This is just the latest delay in Zambada-Niebla’s drug case, which has been postponed at least three times. Prosecutors charged Zambada-Niebla, the son of Sinaloa drug cartel chief Ismael “Mayo” Zambada, with drug trafficking in the spring of 2009.
Zambada-Niebla did not attend the hearing. Instead, he listened in over the telephone.