'El Chapo' is sentenced to life in prison

Judge Brian Cogan imposed the sentence of life plus 30 years

'El Chapo' is sentenced to life in prison
“El Chapo” is perhaps the most notorious Mexican drug lord - Photo: Tomas Bravo/REUTERS
English 17/07/2019 09:50 Reuters Mexico City Brendan Pierson, Jonathan Stempel Actualizada 11:33
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Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, the notorious Mexican drug lord, who was found guilty of running a murderous criminal organization that smuggled tons of drugs into the United States, was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison by a U.S. judge.

U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan imposed the sentence of life plus 30 years, which was mandatory under the law, at a hearing in a federal court in Brooklyn. Guzmán was also ordered to forfeit USD $12.6 billion, prosecutors said.

Back in February, Guzmán was found guilty of trafficking tons of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana and engaging in multiple murder conspiracies as the top leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, known as one of Mexico’s largest and most violent drug cartels.

Guzmán developed a reputation as a Robin Hood-like figure that made him a folk hero to many in his home state of Sinaloa, where he was born in a poor mountain village.

Currently, he is being held in solitary confinement in the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a fortress-like jail in lower Manhattan. Cogan last month rejected his request for more time to exercise on the jail’s roof after prosecutors said that would risk an escape.

Before the sentence was handed down Guzmán claimed that his confinement amounted to “mental torture” and alleged that the jurors on his case allowed media accounts of the trial to influence their thinking, an argument his lawyers have also made.

“The United States is no better than any other corrupt country,” Guzmán said, adding that prosecutors wanted to send him to “a prison where I will never be heard from again.”

Before he was finally captured in 2016 and extradited to the U.S., Guzmán twice escaped maximum-security prisons in Mexico.

U.S. prosecutors have claimed that Guzmán sold more than USD $12 billion worth of drugs, and Forbes magazine once listed him as among the world’s richest men.

Despite Guzmán’s downfall, the Sinaloa Cartel had the biggest U.S. distribution presence of Mexican cartels as of last year, followed by the fast-growing Jalisco New Generation Cartel, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.


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