El Chapo, the notorious Mexican drug lord, has been found guilty on all counts at his New York drug trafficking trial and will spend the rest of his life in US custody.
The drug dealer, whose real name is Joaquin Guzman, was convicted on all 10 counts that were presented to the jury on Tuesday after six days of deliberations.
The charges included seven drug trafficking charges, one count of engaging in a criminal enterprise, one count of money laundering and one charge of firearms offenses.
The criminal enterprise count carries a mandatory life sentence.
Among those in the courtroom on Tuesday to watch the infamous drug dealer meet his fate was his 29-year-old, ex-beauty queen wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro.
After the verdict was read out and translated for the defendant, he turned to look at her and blow her a kiss.
She smiled in response and, with tears in her eyes, gave him a thumbs up.
They have been married since she was 18. Coronel has worn headphones throughout the trial so that she could understand the proceedings.
Her husband appeared emotionless as the verdict was translated to him.
El Chapo, the notorious Mexican drug lord, was found guilty on Tuesday of drug trafficking, criminal enterprise and firearms offenses after a three-month trial in Brooklyn. He will now likely spend the rest of his life in a US prison. He is shown in his 2016 mugshot
The 61-year-old’s wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, was seen arriving at the Brooklyn courthouse where the trial is taking place during a snowstorm on Tuesday morning. At one point during the proceedings on Tuesday, he turned to look at her and smiled. The 28-year-old smiled in response and gave him a thumbs up. They have been married since she was 18
The trial included testimony from former associates and employees of the drug kingpin who is considered one of the most dangerous men in the world.
Count 1 – Engaging in a criminal enterprise
Count 2 – International Cocaine, Heroin, Methamphetamine and Marijuana Manufacture and Distribution Conspiracy
Count 3 – Cocaine Importation Conspiracy
Count 4 – Cocaine Distribution Conspiracy
Count 5 – International Distribution of Cocaine
Count 6 – International Distribution of Cocaine
Count 7 – International Distribution of Cocaine
Count 8 – International Distribution of Cocaine
Count 9 – Use of firearms
Count 10 – Conspiracy to launder narcotics proceeds
They spoke at length about how he ordered killings and controlled a multi-billion dollar Mexican cartel including when he was on the run from Mexican authorities after breaking out of prison.
El Chapo’s defense spent just 30 minutes trying to negate the months of witness testimony.
They claimed he is being framed and that the real leader of the Sinaloa cartel is someone else.
After the verdict was returned, members of the defense team described it as ‘devastating’.
U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan praised jurors for taking their time to meticulously deliberate the charges in the face of global interest and pressure to convict one of the most notorious criminals of all time.
He said their treatment of the trial ‘made him ‘very proud to be an American.’
After the trial, US Attorney Richard Donoghue said El Chapo would have ‘no escape’ from his conviction.
‘It is a sentence from which there is no escape and there is no return.
‘This conviction is a victory for the American people who have suffered for so long and so muhc while Guzman made billions pouring poison over our southern border.
‘This is a victory for the Mexican people who have lost more than 100,000 lives in drug-related violence.
‘It is a victory for every family who have lost a loved one to the black hole of addiction.
‘There are those who say the war on drugs is not worth fighting. Those people are wrong.’
He added that the trial ‘pulled back the curtain on international drug dealing’ and said it exposed, for the first time, the ‘endemic corruption’ which facilitates drug trafficking.
‘This is a day of reckoning but there will be more days of reckoning,’ Donoghue added.
Tuesday’s verdict is the drug dealer’s third conviction.
He has escaped from Mexican prison twice in the last 20 years but was handed over to the US in January 2016 by President Enrique Nieto who has been accused of taking pay-offs from the very cartel that Guzman runs in exchange for leaving him alone.
Nieto has always denied the allegations.
Since he was brought to the US, Guzman has been held in solitary confinement in prisons in Manhattan and in a secret location for the duration of his trial.
When it began, the NYPD had to close the Brooklyn Bridge to ensure there was no interference as he was transported to the courthouse for the first time in an extraordinary security measure.
The trial, which began in November, has attracted Mexican television stars and the gaze of the world’s media.
It was not without obstacle.
No cameras have been allowed in the courtroom since the start of the trial but the defendant has been depicted in sketches such as this one
El Chapo was finally captured for the last time in Mexico in 2016 after being on the run for more than a year. He has broken out of prison twice over the last 20 years to the mortification of the Mexican authorities he and his cronies have long-claimed are corrupt
In this 2016 image taken inside his prison cell in Mexico, El Chapo is seen staring at the ceiling
Among the most challenging stages was jury selection when dozens of people had to be discounted after admitting that they would fear for their life if they were selected.
Tuesday’s verdict brings an end to Guzman’s infamous reign as the leader of the Sinaloa cartel. He is shown in 1993, after his first arrest
Others were rejected after confessing to admiring Guzman including one man who even asked a court bailiff to help him get the defendant’s autograph.
There were allegations at one stage that the defendant was secretly communicating with his former beauty queen wife who was seen using a forbidden cell phone during some proceedings.
FBI agents also testified in addition to the criminals the defendant once employed.
Part of his defense was that they could not be trusted because they were violent criminals.
Before the case even reached trial, his attorneys argued that he had been mistreated while in custody and that his health was declining.
They suggested that he was losing his mind as a result of the solitary confinement he was subjected to and that his memory was also imploding.
During the course of the trial, the only people who were allowed to visit him were his twin seven-year-old daughters.
El Chapo timeline: From his first arrest in 1993 to 2019
1993: First arrest in Mexico
2001: Breaks out of jail for the first time with help of guards
2014: Is rearrested in Mexico after 13 years on the run
July 2015: Breaks out of prison for a second time through secret tunnel
October 2015: Meets with Sean Penn and Kate Del Castillo in Mexico
Days later, the safe house is raided but he escapes
January 8 2016: Captured in Los Michos
January 9 2016: Sean Penn’s Rolling Stone article is published
January 2017: Extradited back to the US
October 2017: Netflix documentary about meeting from Kate Del Castillo is published
November 2017: El Chapo’s lawyers say his mental health is deteriorating
November 2018: Trial finally begins after jury deliberations
February 5: Closing arguments in the trial
February 12: Jury reaches verdict