Jury Reaches Verdict in El Chapo Trial

A federal jury in NY has found Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán Loera guilty of all 10 criminal counts against him, including the top charge of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise.

Jeffrey Lichtman, centre, a defence attorney for Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, speaks to reporters at federal court in NY.

The kingpin will be sentenced on a 10-count indictment (guilty on all 10 counts), for various charges, including running a continuing criminal enterprise, firearms possession, murder conspiracy, and the importation and distribution of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana.

Guzman's wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, leaves Brooklyn federal court on January 17 after attending the trial. He will spend the rest of life in prison now that he has been convicted.

Likewise, the trial involved the twice-daily closing of the Brooklyn Bridge to ensure safe passage for the for the parade of government vehicles transporting El Chapo from the prison to the courthouse.

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.

The 61-year-old was found guilty today by a NY court of operating the huge criminal enterprise and is expected to be given life in prison.

The jury of eight women and four men deliberated roughly 34 hours over 6 days.

El Chapo escaped from Mexican prisons twice, but was recaptured in 2016, and extradited to the USA in January 2017. 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.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was elected past year after promising a change to the deadly military-led war against drug gangs, suggesting a negotiated peace and amnesty for non-violent drug dealers, traffickers and farmers.

The evidence included testimony from 14 cooperators.

They heard how Guzman made a name for himself in the 1980s as "El Rapido", the speedy one, by building cross-border tunnels that allowed him to move cocaine from Mexico into the United States faster than anyone else.

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.

Outside the court, U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue called it a "day of reckoning", promising the government would continue to root out cartel-related drug-running and corruption.

Vanessa Coleman

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