After 11 weeks, a jury in Brooklyn federal court announced that infamous drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman had been found guilty on all charges. After three months, testimony from more than 50 prosecution witnesses, and piles of evidence that included raid videos, stockpiles of seized narcotics, weapons confiscated during raids on the Sinaloa Cartel such as AK-47 rifles, grenades, rocket-propelled grenades, and six days of deliberations, the jury found El Chapo guilty of all 10 counts that stem from his involvement in the drug trafficking by the Sinaloa Cartel. El Chapo now faces a mandatory sentence of life without parole in a U.S. federal prison.
The 61-year-old Mexican drug lord was charged with various crimes such as trafficking cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana into the United States, operating a continuing criminal enterprise, and use of firearms. Guzman’s defense asserted that El Chapo was the victim of an elaborate conspiracy and he had no real power in the Sinaloa Cartel.
“Chapo looked a bit stunned as the verdict was read,” said Vice reporter Keegan Hamilton. “He locked eyes with his wife Emma Coronel as he was being escorted out of the courtroom and nodded at her several times. She was fighting back tears as she flashed him a thumbs up.”
Some of the key evidence against came when the FBI were able to flip El Chapo’s IT guy and he provided a treasure trove of damning information against Guzman. El Chapo’s mistress also flipped on the drug kingpin and testified against him. Vicente Zambada Niebla or “El Vicentillo” is the son of alleged cartel leader Ismael Zambada Garcia, who is El Chapo’s highest-ranking Sinaloa Cartel partner Ismael (El Mayo) Zambada García, also flipped on Guzman and provided damning testimony.
El Chapo was extradited to the United States on January 19, 2017, after being the crime boss of the Sinaloa Cartel for most of the last two decades. Guzman’s trial started in November where he and his team of lawyers have pleaded not guilty to charges includes money laundering, conspiracy, weapons charges, and smuggling more than 155 tons of cocaine over a time period of 25 years trafficked or more than 328 million lines of cocaine — enough for a line for every person in the United States. The drug kingpin is charged in six federal jurisdictions, including New York, Chicago, and Miami. Guzman, who twice escaped prison in Mexico, now faces up to life behind bars of a U.S. maximum-security prison that won’t be so easy to escape.