New York, Wednesday
The world’s most infamous cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who rose from poverty in rural Mexico to amass billions of dollars, was found guilty in a US.court on Tuesday of smuggling tons of drugs to the US over a violent, colourful, decades-long career.
Jurors in federal court in Brooklyn convicted Guzman, 61, head of the Sinaloa Cartel, on all 10 counts brought by US prosecutors.
Richard Donoghue, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said he expected Guzman to receive life without parole when sentenced on June 25. “It is a sentence from which there is no escape and no return,” Donoghue told reporters.
Guzman, one of the major figures in Mexican drug wars that have roiled the country since 2006, become almost legendary for escaping from Mexican high-security jails twice and avoiding massive manhunts.
He cultivated a Robin Hood image among the poor in his home state of Sinaloa. Guzman sat and showed no emotion while the verdict was read. Once the jury left the room, he and his wife Emma Coronel, put their hands to their hearts and gave each other the thumbs up sign. His wife shed tears.
Guzman, whose nickname means “Shorty,” was extradited to the United States for trial in 2017 after he was arrested in Mexico the year before.
Though other high-ranking cartel figures had been extradited previously, Guzman was the first to go to trial instead of pleading guilty.
The 11-week trial, with testimony from more than 50 witnesses, offered an unprecedented look at the inner workings of the Sinaloa Cartel, named for the state in northwestern Mexico where Guzman was born in a poor mountain village. – Reuters