Mexican drug kingpin 'El Chapo' draws life sentence in USA prison

Clay Curtis
July 19, 2019

US Federal Judge Brian Cogan tacked a symbolic 30 years on the sentence and ordered Guzman to pay $12.6 billion in forfeiture-an amount based on a conservative estimate of revenues from his cartel's drug sales in the United States.

When he was convicted in February, U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue called it a "victory for the American people" that "pulled back the curtain" on global drug dealing in a way no other trial has.

The charges, which also include money laundering and weapons-related offenses, carried a mandatory life sentence.

"A fair outcome was a fair trial- that's all we wanted", defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman told reporters Wednesday outside the federal courthouse.

He today received a life sentence plus 30 years at a hearing in federal court in Brooklyn, New York.

Before his capture in 2016, Guzman escaped two maximum-security prisons in Mexico - in one instance by riding a motorbike through a tunnel underneath his cell. They also claimed his trial was tainted by jurors improperly viewing media coverage of the highly publicised case.

El Chapo, the so-called "ruthless and bloodthirsty" leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, who "wield [ed] extraordinary violence, including kidnapping, torture and murder, as a tool to enforce discipline against its members and those who acted against the Cartel's interests", said he had to put toilet paper in his ears to sleep.

This comes after he was convicted of 10 counts of trafficking drugs into the US through a Mexican cartel, which was responsible for multiple murders. "It was not justice".

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He was eventually extradited to the United States to face trial in January 2017. Better known as ADX Florence, it is the nation's most secure "Supermax" prison. United States authorities have kept him in an ultra-secure unit at a Manhattan jail and under close guard at his appearances at the Brooklyn courthouse where his case unfolded. Most inmates at Supermax are given a television, but their only actual view of the outside world is a 4-inch window.

Cogan defended that decision Wednesday saying the allegations of juror misconduct were minor compared to the "mountain range of evidence" against Guzman.

A federal judge has sentenced Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to life in prison without parole.

The 62-year-old was extradited to the US after he broke out of Mexican prisons twice and was recaptured. There also were reports he was itching to testify in his own defense until his attorneys talked him out of it, making his sentencing a last chance to seize the spotlight.

A defense attorney says the Mexican drug lord known as El Chapo is frustrated with the outcome of his USA trial.

Prosecution descriptions of an empire that paid for private planes, beachfront villas and a private zoo were a fallacy, his lawyers say.

Following the request from attorneys Jeffrey Lichtman and Mark Fernich, Brooklyn federal judge Brian Cogan said he would recommend the Mexican kingpin be allowed to head back to the Metropolitan Correctional Center, where he's been held since he was extradited to NY in 2017.

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