Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman sentenced to life in prison

  • In US
  • 2019-07-17 14:18:23Z
  • By The Telegraph

Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman has been sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years by a judge in New York.

The 62-year-old was found guilty in February of drug trafficking, after an 11-week trial that gripped the US and Mexico. A stream of infamous traffickers, cartel hitmen and mistresses were brought before the jury to testify that Guzman was one of the most powerful drug kingpins the world has ever known.

His defence team insisted that he had been framed, and the real cartel leader was his colleague Ismael Zambada Garcia, known as El Mayo.

Guzman's lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman, described Guzman as no more than "a scapegoat", and that El Mayo wielded the real power, repeatedly paying off a "completely corrupt" Mexican government, including top officials like former presidents Enrique Peña Nieto and Felipe Calderon.

Before he was sentenced, Guzman, complained about the conditions of his confinement and told the judge he was denied a fair trial. He said US District Judge Brian Cogan failed to thoroughly investigate claims of juror misconduct.

"My case was stained and you denied me a fair trial when the whole world was watching," Guzman said in court through an interpreter. "When I was extradited to the United States, I expected to have a fair trial, but what happened was exactly the opposite."

He is expected to now be moved from Manhattan to the Supermax prison in Colorado - a facility known as the toughest in the US.

Guzman famously escaped from high-security Mexican prisons twice - once hiding in a laundry cart, and once digging a mile-long tunnel under his cell.

Guzman has been largely cut off from the outside world since his extradition in 2017, on the last day of Barack Obama's presidency.

Wary of his history of escaping from Mexican prisons, US authorities have kept him in solitary confinement at a Manhattan jail and under close guard at his appearances at the Brooklyn courthouse where his case unfolded.

Prosecutors will now begin hunting for the $12.7 billion they have ordered Guzman to forfeit.


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