A man claiming to be a relative of El Chapo was arrested in Brooklyn Federal Court Thursday after marshals discovered an open warrant for his arrest.
The bizarre scene unfolded after the man, who identified himself to reporters as Rene Martinez, was removed from the main courtroom after refusing to move from seating reserved for the kingpin’s wife.
“You cannot tell me who my family is,” Martinez told marshals when they asked him to move from the courtroom’s second row.
About an hour and a half later, the man was led out of the overflow room in handcuffs after marshals discovered he had multiple open state warrants, a courthouse official confirmed.
El Chapo, whose real name is Joaquín Guzmán Loera, has been on trial since November.
Martinez told reporters he was from Milan, Italy, and had houses all over Mexico. He claimed to be related to the Guzmán Loera clan.
He said he was in New York to undergo surgery for injuries from a motorcycle crash and that his mother had asked him to attend the trial.
“The family doesn’t know him, no relation,” Guzmán’s attorney Jeffrey Lichtman said. “The family disavows him completely — he is an imposter.”
Guzmán has pleaded not guilty to a 10-count indictment alleging he trafficked more than 150 tons of illegal drugs into the U.S., conspired to commit murder, and other related charges. If convicted, he faces life in prison.