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El Chapo found guilty on all counts; will spend life in prison

Posted by / February 13, 2019

After evading police capture for years and years, El Chapo will now be living the rest of his life behind bars after being extradited to the U.S. in 2017. The conviction was officially made in court this week after a three-month trial, as reported by the New York Times.

The drug lord has been notorious as one of the richest man in the Americas with an operation that spanned many countries and timezones. Over many decades, El Chapo was responsible for shipping drugs into the United States by the tons valued at billions of dollars. His criminal enterprise also brought to Mexico constant bloodshed, paying off politicians, and a endless cycle of violence and poverty for the peoples affected.

The legendary outlaw has been avoiding capture for decades, becoming something of a ‘folk hero’ until he was extradited to the United States in early 2017. He was known for his many prison breaks, smuggling tactics, violence against competitors, and his drug empire which was among the largest in the world. Mexican authorities have tried to capture and bring him to justice for decades to no avail.

As the jury’s charges were read by Judge Brian M. Cogan, El Chapo, whose real name is Joaquin Guzman Loera, looked stunned. He glanced over to his wife as the verdict was reached, tearful and not believing the conviction was real.

The court case was among the most publicized in American history and was held in the Federal District Court in Brooklyn. There, prosecutors brought together a sea of evidence which included testimonies from 56 witnesses, 14 of whom worked with El Chapo directly.

The final conviction and sentence was life in prison.

“A Victory for All”

The U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Richard P. Donoghue, said that the guilty verdict was a victory for all: for law enforcement, for Mexico, and for families who suffered under El Chapo’s cruel reign. He mentioned the 100,000 people who had died in Mexico due to the drug war, and how El Chapo has finally been brought to justice.

One of Mr. Guzman’s lawyers, Jeffrey Lichtman, said that he had never experienced a trial with so many corroborating witnesses. In terms of the defense, he said he “did all he could” but the evidence was too compelling for any leniency.

The Trump Administration has also been active to make sure this guilty verdict was reached. Matthew G. Whitaker, the acting Attorney General, visited the courtroom on February 4th and shook hands with each of the trial prosecutors for good luck. The jury was then given thousands of pages of testimony. The whole trial took place under intense media scrutiny, making the verdict seemingly inevitable.

For the jurors, it was a complex story of an American and Mexican tragedy which led to the murder and rape of hundreds of thousands, and a criminal enterprise valued at billions of dollars.

The end result was justice made right for the families. The sentence hearing is expected to take place on June 25th when El Chapo will officially be sentenced for life in prison.  

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