El Chapo, Mexico’s notorious drug lord, found guilty in U.S. trial – National

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Mexico’s most infamous drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, was convicted Tuesday of working an industrial-scale smuggling operation after a three-month trial full of Hollywood-style tales of grisly killings, political payoffs, cocaine hidden in jalapeno cans, jewel-encrusted weapons and a unadorned escape together with his mistress by way of a tunnel.

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Guzman confronted a drumbeat of drug-trafficking and conspiracy convictions that might put the 61-year-old escape artist behind bars for many years in a maximum-security U.S. jail chosen to thwart one other one of many breakouts that embarrassed his native nation.

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New York jurors whose identities have been stored secret reached a verdict after deliberating six days within the expansive case, sorting by way of what authorities referred to as an “avalanche” of proof gathered because the late 1980s that Guzman and his murderous Sinaloa drug cartel made billions in income by smuggling tons of cocaine, heroin, meth and marijuana into the U.S.

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Proof confirmed medicine poured into the U.S. by way of secret tunnels or hidden in tanker vehicles, hid within the undercarriage of passenger automobiles and packed in rail automobiles passing by way of authentic factors of entry — suggesting that a border wall wouldn’t be a lot of a fear.

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The prosecution’s case in opposition to Guzman, a roughly 5½-foot determine whose nickname interprets to “Shorty,” included the testimony of a number of turncoats and different witnesses. Amongst them have been Guzman’s former Sinaloa lieutenants, a pc encryption knowledgeable and a Colombian cocaine provider who underwent excessive cosmetic surgery to disguise his look.

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One Sinaloa insider described Mexican employees getting contact highs whereas packing cocaine into 1000’s of jalapeno cans — shipments that totaled 25 to 30 tons of cocaine value US$500 million annually. One other testified how Guzman typically acted as his personal sicario, or hitman, punishing a Sinaloan who dared to work for one more cartel by kidnapping him, beating and capturing him and having his males bury the sufferer whereas he was nonetheless alive, gasping for air.

n this Jan. 8, 2016 file photo, drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is made to face the media in Mexico City as he is escorted by Mexican soldiers following his recapture six months after escaping from a maximum security prison.

n this Jan. eight, 2016 file photograph, drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is made to face the media in Mexico Metropolis as he’s escorted by Mexican troopers following his recapture six months after escaping from a most safety jail.

AP Picture/Eduardo Verdugo

The defence case lasted simply half an hour. Guzman’s attorneys didn’t deny his crimes as a lot as argue he was a fall man for presidency witnesses who have been extra evil than he was.

Defence legal professional Jeffrey Lichtman urged the jury in closing arguments to not imagine authorities witnesses who “lie, steal, cheat, deal medicine and kill folks.”

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Deliberations have been difficult by the trial’s huge scope. Jurors have been tasked with making 53 selections about whether or not prosecutors have confirmed completely different parts of the case.

The trial solid a harsh glare on the corruption that allowed the cartel to flourish. Colombian trafficker Alex Cifuentes triggered a stir by testifying that former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto took a $100 million bribe from Guzman. Peña Nieto denied it, however the allegation match a theme: politicians, military commanders, police and prosecutors, all on the take.

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The stress at occasions was reduce by among the trial’s sideshows, such because the sight of Guzman and his spouse, Emma Coronel Aispuro, exhibiting up in matching burgundy velvet blazers in a gesture of solidarity. One other day, a Chapo-size actor who performed the kingpin within the TV sequence “Narcos: Mexico” got here to look at, telling reporters that seeing the defendant flash him a smile was “surreal.”

Emma Coronel Aispuro, center, wife of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, leaves federal court, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in New York.

Emma Coronel Aispuro, heart, spouse of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, leaves federal court docket, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in New York.

AP Picture/Craig Ruttle

Whereas the trial was dominated by Guzman’s persona as a near-mythical outlaw who carried a diamond-encrusted handgun and stayed one step forward of the regulation, the jury by no means heard from Guzman himself, besides when he instructed the choose he wouldn’t testify.

However his sing-songy voice crammed the courtroom, due to recordings of intercepted telephone calls. “Amigo!” he stated to a cartel distributor in Chicago. “Right here at your service.”

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One of many trial’s most memorable tales got here from girlfriend Lucero Guadalupe Sanchez Lopez, who testified she was in mattress in a protected home with an on-the-run Guzman in 2014 when Mexican marines began breaking down his door. She stated Guzman led her to a lure door beneath a bath that opened as much as a tunnel that allowed them to flee.

Requested what he was carrying, she replied: “He was bare. He took off working. He left us behind.”

This undated photo provided by the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York shows Lucero Guadalupe Sanchez Lopez.

This undated photograph offered by the USA Lawyer for the Japanese District of New York reveals Lucero Guadalupe Sanchez Lopez.

U.S. Lawyer for the Japanese District of New York through AP

The defendant had beforehand escaped from jail by hiding in a laundry bin in 2001. He then bought an escort from crooked law enforcement officials into Mexico Metropolis earlier than retreating to one in all his many mountainside hideaways. In 2014, he pulled off one other jail break, escaping by way of a mile-long lighted tunnel on a motorbike on rails.

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Even when Guzman was recaptured in 2016 earlier than his extradition to the USA, he was plotting one other escape, prosecutor Andrea Goldbarg stated in closing arguments.

In this Jan. 19, 2017 file photo, authorities escort Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, centre, from a plane to a waiting caravan of SUVs at Long Island MacArthur Airport, in Ronkonkoma, N.Y.

On this Jan. 19, 2017 file photograph, authorities escort Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, centre, from a aircraft to a ready caravan of SUVs at Lengthy Island MacArthur Airport, in Ronkonkoma, N.Y.

U.S. regulation enforcement through AP

“Why? As a result of he’s responsible and he by no means wished to be ready the place he must reply for his crimes,” she instructed the jury. “He wished to keep away from sitting proper there. In entrance of you.”

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