WASHINGTON – A jury in Brooklyn on Tuesday convicted notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman on all 10 federal counts, meaning the man known as “El Chapo” will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars.
The jury concluded 35 hours of deliberations over six days. His trial lasted 11 weeks. The most serious charge was running a criminal enterprise. None of the charges including murder.
For decades El Chapo (“Shorty”) headed the powerful and vicious Sinaloa cartel in Mexico. The cartel’s multibillion-dollar drug business was marked by ruthless violence, targeting not just rivals but politicians, judges and journalists. Beheadings were common and the bodies of journalists who wrote about the cartel were hung from bridges as a warning to others. Guzman claimed in 2014 that he had killed 2,000-3,000 people.
The cartel uses a series of complex tunnels to deliver drugs and elude authorities. Guzman bragged in an interview that his delivery fleet includes submarines and planes.
He twice escaped maximum-security prisons in Mexico. He was finally captured in 2015 and was extradited to the U.S. in January 2017.
Guzman, 61, is facing a mandatory life imprisonment when he is sentenced in June. He also has been charged in several other jurisdictions in the U.S.
During his trial, a close aide of Guzman’s testified that the drug lord paid a $100 million bribe to former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. The former president’s ex-chief of staff denies the allegation.
Guzman’s wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, 29, who was born in the U.S. and has dual citizenship with Mexico, regularly attended his trial. She occasionally brought the couple’s 7-year-old twin daughters. Coronel was in the courtroom when the verdict was announced.