'El Chapo' Drug Kingpin Found GUILTY on All Charges by Brooklyn Jury
'El Chapo' Drug Kingpin Found GUILTY on All Charges by Brooklyn Jury
Joaquin'El Chapo Guzman centre in a court sketch on Feb. 7 2019
12 February, 2019, 22:54
The cartel boss, who infamously escaped from jail twice, ran a global drug empire and had amassed a fortune of billions of dollars.
The verdict comes following a wildly dramatic, three-month long trial in New York City that involved extreme measures to prevent El Chapo from escaping, such as his accommodations at a Manhattan prison supposedly being even more secure than a SuperMax.
The jury of 12 people announced their decision at a federal courthouse in Brooklyn, New York on the sixth day of deliberations, affirming Guzman was the leader of the Sinaloa cartel and conspired to commit murder.
He could face life behind bars in a maximum security USA prison.
Guzman, 61, was extradited to the U.S.in 2017 after Mexican authorities captured him a year prior during raids in Los Mochis, Sinaloa.
Reporters said that El Chapo and his wife, Emma Colonel, didn't show any emotions while the jury read the verdict but afterward, Chapo looked at her and waved. Once the jury left the room, Guzman and Coronel put their hands to their hearts and gave each other the thumbs up sign.
The defence case lasted just 30 minutes. Defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman said these witnesses had "lied every day of their lives - their miserable, selfish lives".
The trial cast a harsh glare on the corruption that allowed the cartel to flourish.
The most shocking allegation came from Guzman's former top aide Alex Cifuentes, who accused former Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto of taking 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.
Former beauty queen Emma Coronel Aispuro onboarded the muscle last week, sources close to the Guzman family said, as publicity surrounding her husband's trial caused her to fear for her safety. "Amigo!" he said to a cartel distributor in Chicago.
Chapo was detained by the Mexican government in 2014 but escaped a year later.
El Chapo escaped from Mexican prisons twice, but was recaptured in 2016, and extradited to the United States in January 2017. She said Guzman led her to a trap door beneath a bathtub that opened up to a tunnel that allowed them to escape. He took off running. Perhaps most famously, he escaped a Mexican prison in 2015 through an elaborate tunnel that included an adapted motorcycle on rails.
"Why? Because he is guilty and he never wanted to be in a position where he would have to answer for his crimes", she told the jury. "In front of you".
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