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updated: 10/8/2012 9:21 PM

Cartel suspect to plead not guilty

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Associated Press

A lawyer for a man authorities allege is a Mexican drug cartel leader says his client intends to plead not guilty to drug-trafficking charges.

The attorney for Alfredo Vasquez Hernandez said the 57-year-old will go before a federal judge in Chicago Tuesday. Paul Brayman said that, if asked at the status hearing, he'll enter a not guilty plea.

Mexico extradited Hernandez to Chicago last week. Authorities said he is the second leader of Mexico's powerful Sinaloa cartel sent to Chicago to faces charges in recent years. The other is 37-year-old Vincente Zambada.

Both are charged with drug trafficking under the same 2009 indictment. And Brayman said both will appear at the same Tuesday hearing.

Hernandez was regarded as a top assistant to Sinaloa leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. Zambada's father is considered the cartel's co-leader.

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