El Chapo trial: Drug lord faces life in prison after being found guilty on all 10 counts

The verdict brings to an end two-and-a-half months of courtroom drama in Brooklyn

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Tuesday 12 February 2019 18:23
Special agent in charge of Homeland Security gives statement following El Chapo guilty jury verdict

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman faces spending the rest of his life behind bars after a jury reached a guilty verdict following six days of deliberation.

Guzmán, 61, was convicted on all 10 counts, including international distribution of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, and conspiracy to launder money.

The drug lord had pleaded not guilty, triggering a two-and-a-half month trial which included 200 hours of testimony from 56 witnesses and drew tourists from around the world to watch from the public gallery.

Of the witnesses, 14 were former associates of Guzman who agreed to testify in exchange for lesser sentences.

The 12-person jury, made up of eight women and four men, deliberated for 34 hours in Brooklyn federal court before coming to a verdict.

Guzman reportedly looked “stunned” as the verdict, which will see him serve a mandatory sentence of life with no chance of parole in federal prison, was read.

Guzman’s wife, Emma Coronel, a former beauty queen and constant presence in the courthouse throughout the trial, gave her husband a thumbs-up as he was escorted out of the courtroom.

Prior to his final capture in 2016, the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel escaped maximum security prison in Mexico twice. He was extradited to the United States in 2017.

During the trial, which often played out like a soap opera, testimonies detailing large-scale drug trafficking, murders, underground tunnels, and jeweled AK-47 rifles were heard by the court.

In addition to drug-trafficking charges, the 61-year-old was also found guilty of charges related to the use of firearms.

After announcing the verdict, Judge Brian Cogan thanked the jury for its careful deliberation.

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“The way you went about it was really quite remarkable and frankly it made me proud to be an American,” he said.

Guzman will be sentenced on 25 June.

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