el chapo

Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán was found guilty Tuesday of crimes spanning more than a quarter of a century, during which prosecutors said he smuggled more than 200 tons of cocaine into the United States.

After an almost three-month trial and six days of deliberations, a New York jury found the Sinaloa cartel leader guilty of each of the 10 charges he was tried on, including engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise and multiple counts of distributing large amounts of narcotics internationally.

Guzmán, 61, now faces life in prison. The U.S. had agreed not to seek the death penalty while trying to extradite him from Mexico, which has abolished capital punishment. He is due to be sentenced June 25.

Richard Donoughue, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said he expected Guzmán to be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

"It is a sentence from which there is no escape and no return," he said.

"His conviction is a victory for the American people who have suffered so long and so much while Guzman made billions pouring poison over our southern border," Donoughue added. "This conviction is a victory for the Mexican people, who have lost more than 100,000 lives in drug-related violence."

When the jurors filed into the courtroom with a verdict Tuesday, they all looked down as Guzmán scanned their faces.

Image: Joaquin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán and his wife, Emma Coronel, in this courtroom sketch in Brooklyn federal court in New York City, on Feb. 12, 2019.Christine Cornell

After the verdict was read, Guzmán shook hands with his attorneys. As he exited the courtroom, he put his hand on his heart and nodded to his wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro.

U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan lauded the seven women and five men of the jury, saying that in 13 years on the bench, he hadn't seen a jury pay so much attention to detail, and how their diligence made him "very proud to be an American."

Jeffrey Lichtman, one of Guzmán's defense attorneys, said that his client was shockingly " very upbeat" after the verdict was read. "He was bringing our spirits up, which was surprising," Lichtman said. "This is a positive guy."

Lichtman said the defense team would appeal the verdict.

"The appeal will be fought just as this trial was fought. This was balls to the wall, and that’s how we fight cases," he said.

"We fought like complete savages and left it all on the battlefield for Joaquin Guzman," Lichtman said, adding that representing Guzmán was "an absolute honor and a pleasure."

"If you can't represent Joaquin Guzman as defense lawyer, you shouldn't be representing anyone," he said.

More than 56 prosecution witnesses were called to the stand at the heavily-secured federal courthouse in Brooklyn over the course of 35 days.

The jury listened to movie-esque tales of brutal murders of cartel enemies, political payoffs, elaborate schemes to traffic drugs, two brazen escapes that almost became three, and even a love triangle.

In closing arguments, prosecutors told the jury that an "avalanche of evidence" proved that Guzmán lorded over a murderous drug empire. Presenting that evidence took 11 weeks.

Meanwhile, the defense rested after 30 minutes. They countered that the government's case was only held up by the testimony of criminals who "lie, steal, cheat, deal drugs and kill people" for a living.

Guzmán addressed the courtroom only once during the trial, telling the judge he was electing not to testify in his own defense.

"Señor judge, me and my attorneys have spoken about this," Guzmán said, "and I will reserve."

GUZMÁN WAS CONVICTED OF ALL 10 COUNTS:

  • Engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise
  • International cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana manufacture and distribution conspiracy
  • Cocaine importation conspiracy
  • Cocaine distribution conspiracy
  • International distribution of cocaine
  • International distribution of cocaine
  • International distribution of cocaine
  • International distribution of cocaine
  • Use of firearms
  • Conspiracy to launder narcotics proceeds

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