Notorious drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman convicted

13 February, 2019, 04:35 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • El Chapo found guilty

World's most infamous cartel boss Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman found guilty.

Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was found guilty on all 10 counts Tuesday after a high-profile trial that lasted almost three months.

Jurors in a federal court in Brooklyn have delivered a guilty verdict on all 10 charges in a high point of the 11-week long trial, with several of the carrying a life sentence.

Guzman faced a drumbeat of drug-trafficking and conspiracy convictions that could put the 61-year-old escape artist behind bars for decades in a maximum-security US prison selected to thwart another one of the breakouts that embarrassed his native country.

Guzman, 61, was extradited to the U.S.in 2017 after Mexican authorities captured him a year prior during raids in Los Mochis, Sinaloa. Once the jury left the room, he and his wife put their hands to their hearts and gave each other the thumbs up sign.

The legend of Guzman was burnished by two dramatic escapes he made from Mexican prisons and by a Robin Hood image he cultivated among Sinaloa's poor.

The trial, which featured testimony from more than 50 witnesses, offered the public an unprecedented look at the inner workings of the Sinaloa Cartel, named for the state in north-western Mexico where Guzman was born in a poor mountain village. He did not try to deny his crimes, but instead had his lawyers argue he was merely a fall guy for corrupt government officials guilty of far worse wrongdoing that him.


It's been roughly three months since El Chapo's trial began. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador was elected past year after promising a change, suggesting a negotiated peace and amnesty for non-violent drug dealers, traffickers, and farmers.

The most detailed evidence against Guzman came from more than a dozen former associates who struck deals to cooperate with US prosecutors.

Even when Guzman was recaptured in 2016 before his extradition to the United States, he was plotting another escape, prosecutor Andrea Goldbarg said in closing arguments.

Through them, jurors heard how the Sinaloa Cartel gained power amid the shifting allegiances of the Mexican drug trade in the 1990s, eventually coming to control nearly the entire Pacific coast of Mexico.

Guzmán, once listed on Forbes' Billionaires List, has always been a slippery and near-mythical figure.

He was recaptured several months later - his third arrest in 23 years - in the Sinaloa coastal city of Los Mochis and extradited to the USA about a year later. Colombian trafficker Alex Cifuentes caused a stir by testifying that former Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto took a $100-million bribe from Guzman. Perhaps most famously, he escaped a Mexican prison in 2015 through an elaborate tunnel that included an adapted motorcycle on rails.

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