Mexican drug cartel Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán found guilty on all counts, faces life in prison

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Joaquin El Chapo Guzman

Famous Mexican drug lord, Joaquin  “El Chapo”  Guzman has been found guilty on all counts against him and is expected to spend the rest of his life in a US jail 

El Chapo who escaped from prison twice, made his first successful attempt in 2001 and broke out of a Mexican jail by hiding in a laundry bin.

Then, in 2014, he fled jail through a mile-long lighted tunnel which his associates had fitted with a motorcycle on rails. He was arrested again in 2016 and extradited to the US the following year.

On Tuesday, Guzman was convicted of running a criminal enterprise that amassed him a $14 billion (£11 billion) fortune. He ran the Sinaloa cartel, becoming the world’s most notorious drug baron since Pablo Escobar, the Colombian who was shot dead in 1993.

The 61-year-old showed no emotion as a jury in New York found him guilty of 10 drug-related charges. He will be sentenced on June 25, and will face a mandatory life term.

After the verdicts were read the Mexican drug lord, dressed in a charcoal suit and tie, leaned back in his chair and looked at his wife Emma Coronel, 29, a beauty queen. Both placed their hands on their hearts and gave each other a thumbs up. She had tears in her eyes.

The jury of five men and seven women, who have been under special protection since the trial began in November, deliberated for six days

During the trial, they heard allegations of gruesome murders, guns encrusted with diamonds or plated with gold, cocaine hidden in jalapeno cans, and a naked escape by Guzman with a mistress through a tunnel.

Prosecutors presented what they called an “avalanche” of evidence showing how Guzman, and his murderous Sinaloa cartel, made billions of dollars in profits by smuggling tons of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and cannabis into the US.

The court heard an allegation that Enrique Pena Nieto, the former Mexican president, took a $100 million bribe from Guzman. Mr Pena Nieto denied it. 

Jurors were also told of Guzman’s personal brutality. On one occasion he was alleged to have kidnapped an associate who left his cartel, beating and shooting him, before having the victim buried alive.

A cast of 56 witnesses, many of them Mexican drug traffickers already in US prisons, gave evidence against him.

They included a Colombian known as Chupeta, or Lollipop, whose face had been so altered by plastic surgery while on the run that the court collectively gasped at his appearance.

One of Guzman’s many mistresses, Lucero Guadalupe Sanchez Lopez, told how she was in bed in a safe house with the drug lord when he was in hiding in 2014.

Mexican marines broke down the door but Guzman led her to a trap door beneath a bathtub, which led to an escape tunnel. “He was naked. He took off running,” she told the court.’.

Guzman will be held in a maximum-security prison in the US to avoid any jailbreaks.

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