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Mexico’s ‘El Chapo’ drug cartel boss convicted on all 10 U.S. fees

Mexico's 'El Chapo' drug cartel boss convicted on all 10 U.S. charges

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Mexico’s ‘El Chapo’ drug cartel boss convicted on all 10 U.S. fees






NEW YORK, Feb 12 (Reuters) – The world’s most notorious cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who rose from poverty in rural Mexico to amass billions of {dollars}, was discovered responsible in a U.S. courtroom on Tuesday of operating a violent gang that smuggled tons of medication into america.

Jurors in federal courtroom in Brooklyn discovered Guzman, 61, head of the Sinaloa Cartel, responsible on all 10 counts. He faces a potential sentence of life in jail at a continuing the decide scheduled for June 25.

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One of many main figures in drug wars which have roiled Mexico since 2006, Guzman turned an virtually legendary prison determine. He staged two dramatic escapes from Mexican high-security prisons and cultivated a “Robin Hood” picture among the many poor in his house state of Sinaloa.

Guzman sat and confirmed no emotion whereas the decision was learn. As soon as the jury left the room, he and his spouse Emma Coronel, put their palms to their hearts and gave one another the thumbs up signal. His spouse shed tears.

Guzman, whose nickname means “Shorty,” was extradited to america for trial in 2017 after he was arrested in Mexico the 12 months earlier than.

Although different high-ranking cartel figures had been extradited beforehand, Guzman was the primary to go to trial as a substitute of pleading responsible.

The 11-week trial, which featured testimony from greater than 50 witnesses, supplied the general public an unprecedented take a look at the internal workings of the Sinaloa Cartel, named for the state in northwestern Mexico the place Guzman was born in a poor mountain village.

U.S. prosecutors mentioned he trafficked tons of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine into america over greater than 20 years, consolidating his energy in Mexico by way of murders and wars with rival cartels.

Small in stature, Guzman’s smuggling exploits, the violence he used and the sheer measurement of his illicit enterprise made Guzman the world’s most infamous drug baron since Colombia’s Pablo Escobar, who was shot lifeless by police in 1993.

Guzman’s attorneys say he was arrange as a “fall man” by Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, a robust drug lord from Sinaloa who stays at massive.

In a press release after the decision, attorneys for El Chapo mentioned they had been “clearly dissatisfied” however respectful of the jury’s determination. “We had been confronted with extraordinary and unprecedented obstacles in defending Joaquin, together with his detention in solitary confinement,” the assertion mentioned.

This Feb. 22, 2014 file photo shows Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the head of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel, being escorted to a helicopter in Mexico City following his capture overnight in the beach resort town of Mazatlan. A judge in Mexico has issued a second arrest warrant to detain escaped drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman based on an extradition request from the United States. The federal prosecutors’ office said Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015 the new warrant is for U.S. charges of organized crime, money laundering drug trafficking, homicide and others. Guzman escaped on July 11, 2015 through a tunnel from Mexico's highest-security prison.© Eduardo Verdugo/AP Photograph
This Feb. 22, 2014 file picture reveals Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the top of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel, being escorted to a helicopter in Mexico Metropolis following his seize in a single day within the seaside resort city of Mazatlan. A decide in Mexico has issued a second arrest warrant to detain escaped drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman primarily based on an extradition request from america. The federal prosecutors’ workplace mentioned Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015 the brand new warrant is for U.S. fees of organized crime, cash laundering drug trafficking, murder and others. Guzman escaped on July 11, 2015 by way of a tunnel from Mexico’s highest-security jail.

DRUG WARS

Mexico has been mired for 12 years in a lethal military-led battle towards drug gangs. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was elected final 12 months after promising a change, suggesting a negotiated peace and amnesty for non-violent drug sellers, traffickers and farmers.

Probably the most detailed proof towards Guzman got here from greater than a dozen former associates who struck offers to cooperate with U.S. prosecutors.

By them, jurors heard how the Sinaloa Cartel gained energy amid the shifting allegiances of the Mexican drug commerce within the 1990s, finally coming to manage virtually all the Pacific coast of Mexico.

They heard how Guzman made a reputation for himself within the 1980s as “El Rapido,” the speedy one, by constructing cross-border tunnels that allowed him to maneuver cocaine from Mexico into america sooner than anybody else.

The witnesses, who included a few of Guzman’s prime lieutenants, a communications engineer and a onetime mistress, described how he constructed a complicated group harking back to a multinational company, with fleets of planes and boats, detailed accounting ledgers and an encrypted digital communication system run by way of secret pc servers in Canada.

A former bodyguard testified that he watched Guzman kill three rival drug cartel members, together with one sufferer who he shot after which ordered to be buried whilst he was nonetheless gasping for air.

U.S. District Choose Brian Cogan advised the jurors after the decision that it was as much as them to resolve to speak to the media, however that he would advise towards it. “As soon as that door is open, it could actually’t be closed once more,” he mentioned.

Cogan additionally mentioned that in his 13 years as a trial courtroom decide he had by no means skilled a jury deliberating as diligently in a fancy case because the Guzman one. “It made me very proud to be an American,” Cogan mentioned of the U.S. jury system.

Estimates of how a lot cash Guzman constructed from medication fluctuate. In 2009, Forbes Journal put him on its listing of the world’s richest folks, with an estimated $1 billion. It later dropped him from the listing, saying it was too tough to quantify his property.

The U.S. Justice Division mentioned in 2017 it sought forfeiture of greater than $14 billion in drug proceeds and illicit income from Guzman.

The trial additionally featured in depth testimony about corruption in Mexico, most of it involving bribes to legislation enforcement, army and native authorities officers so the cartel might perform its day-to-day drug delivery operations undisturbed.

Probably the most stunning allegation got here from Guzman’s former prime aide Alex Cifuentes, who accused former Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto of taking a $100 million bribe from Guzman. A spokesman for the ex-president has denied the declare.

In one of many trial’s last days, Guzman advised the decide he wouldn’t testify in his personal protection. The identical day, he grinned broadly at viewers member Alejandro Edda, the Mexican actor who performs Guzman within the Netflix drama “Narcos.”

Regardless of his ties to authorities officers, Guzman typically lived on the run. Imprisoned in Mexico in 1993, he escaped in 2001 hidden in a laundry cart and spent the next years transferring from one hideout to a different within the mountains of Sinaloa, guarded by a non-public military.

He was seized and imprisoned once more in 2014, however pulled off his finest identified escape the next 12 months when he disappeared right into a tunnel dug into his cell in a most safety jail.



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