Mexican drug cartel leader El Chapo found guilty, faces life in prison

The former Sinaloa Cartel boss, real name Joaquin Guzman, was found guilty of the crimes after jurors at a courthouse in Brooklyn, New York, spent six days deliberating the charges.

Jurors at the USA trial of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman are in their sixth day of deliberations.

Guzmán, 61, faces 10 counts, including engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, conspiracy to launder narcotics proceeds, worldwide distribution of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and other drugs, and use of firearms. The 66-year-old's wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, was among those in the courtroom on Tuesday to see his fate sealed.

Guzman's wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, leaves Brooklyn federal court on January 17 after attending the trial.

Guzman faced a drumbeat of drug-trafficking and conspiracy convictions that could put the 61-year-old escape artist behind bars for decades in a maximum-security USA prison selected to thwart another one of the breakouts that embarrassed his native country.

They were are asked to make 53 decisions about whether prosecutors have proven various elements of the 10-count indictment against Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

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Guzman spoke in the courtroom only once during the trial, saying he would not testify in his own defense, NBC News reported.

Jeffrey Lichtman, a lawyer for Guzman, told reporters after the verdict that the defence faced an uphill fight, given the amount of evidence the government presented, and the widespread perception that Guzman was already guilty. He did not try to deny his crimes, but instead had his lawyers argue he was merely a fall guy for corrupt government officials guilty of far worse wrongdoing that him.

Mexico has been mired for 12 years in a deadly military-led war against drug gangs. He was free at that point after a dramatic escape in which he tunneled out of a Mexican prison. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador was elected a year ago after promising a change, suggesting a negotiated peace and amnesty for non-violent drug dealers, traffickers, and farmers.

The prosecution's case against Guzman, a roughly 5½-foot figure whose nickname translates to "Shorty", included the testimony of former associates and other witnesses.

Through them, jurors heard how the Sinaloa Cartel gained power amid the shifting allegiances of the Mexican drug trade in the 1990s, eventually coming to control nearly the entire Pacific coast of Mexico.

  • Sonia Alvarado