Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman convicted in US trial

13 February, 2019, 00:57 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • El Chapo New York

Guzman, one of the major figures in Mexican drug wars that have roiled the country since 2006, was extradited to the United States for trial in 2017 after he was arrested in Mexico the year before.

In this courtroom drawing, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, centre, sits at the defence table while listening to the judge addressing the jury during his long-running drug trafficking trial in NY.

In a statement after the verdict, lawyers for El Chapo said they were "obviously disappointed" but respectful of the jury's decision.

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.

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.

But the Mexican government says he blew his cover through a series of slip ups, including an attempt to make a movie about his life.

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Federal prosecutors put on more than 50 witnesses over three months detailing how Guzman's Sinaloa cartel amassed billions of dollars importing tons of cocaine, heroin, meth and marijuana into the U.S. The 66-year-old's wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, was among those in the courtroom on Tuesday to see his fate sealed.

The evidence included testimony from 14 cooperators. His lawyers say Guzman is not a criminal mastermind but just a fall guy for the leader of the Sinaloa cartel, Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada.

"This was a case that was literally an avalanche, avalanche of evidence", Lichtman said.

In this courtroom drawing from February 7, Joaquin Guzman listens to Judge Brian Cogan addressing the jury. Colombian trafficker Alex Cifuentes caused a stir by testifying that former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto took a $100 million bribe from Guzman.

While the trial was dominated by Guzman's persona as a near-mythical outlaw who carried a diamond-encrusted handgun and stayed one step ahead of the law, the jury never heard from Guzman himself, except when he told the judge he wouldn't testify. The same day, he grinned broadly at audience member Alejandro Edda, the Mexican actor who plays Guzman in the Netflix drama "Narcos".

The trial testimony lasted almost three months and the jurors have been tasked with deciding on 10 separate counts. She said Guzman led her to a trap door beneath a bathtub that opened up to a tunnel that allowed them to escape. "He left us behind".

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