A star government witness at the New York trial of Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was sentenced Thursday in Chicago.
Vicente Zambada was sentenced to 15 years in prison with credit for time served.
“Many in Washington want to build a wall, when many of these drugs are coming in, in a fashion that a wall will do nothing about," Judge Reuben Castillo said while declaring the sentence.
Prosecutors had sought extraordinary leniency for the former cartel lieutenant-turned-U.S. government cooperator.
Zambada was looking at a sentence of life in prison if not for his testimony last year against Guzman and his 10 years spilling secrets about the inner working of the Sinaloa cartel that prosecutors say led to charges against over 100 people.
Prosecutors last week recommended a 17-year sentence for the 44-year-old former chief of Sinaloa logistics.
With credit for time served, Zambada could go free in under five years.
He's the son of another Sinaloa kingpin, Ismael Zambada. Prosecutors say he tried to withdraw from his father's illegal business but kept getting sucked back in.