El Chapo Found Guilty of All Charges
Mexican drug lord Joaquín Guzmán, more known as "El Chapo," was convicted Tuesday after a three-month drug trial in New York. El Chapo now faces life in prison. According to the New York Times, “there seemed to be little doubt from the start that he would be convicted.”
The trial exposed the inner workings of the Sinaloa Cartel’s operation, leaving the world in shock of the backstage of the shipping of drugs in Mexico and the United States, which featured political payoffs and a trail of endless bloodshed.
The Associated Press listed some shocking highlights of the cinematic trial, emphasizing details such as cocaine hidden in jalapeno cans, jewel-encrusted guns and a naked escape with a mistress through a tunnel.
The guilty verdict ended the career of a man who was often shrouded in dark folklore. Unlike the codes of silence often followed by members of organized crime, Guzmán’s downfall was mainly attributed to the testimony of his former workers.
Guzmán’s conviction occurred in the Federal District Courthouse in Brooklyn, which is where the trial and conviction of John Gotti, head of the Sicilian Gambino clan, occurred in 1992.
Gotti was brought down by one snitch, Sammy “the Bull” Gravano. Conversely, El Chapo had 14 former workers testify against him, and the prosecution had even more witnesses willing to testify. All together the prosecution presented evidence from 56 witnesses.
Mr. Guzmán’s lawyers promised an appeal. They said that Mr. Guzmán had expected the guilty verdict and was prepared for it.
“I’ve never faced a case with so many cooperating witnesses and so much evidence,” Jeffrey Lichtman, one of Mr. Guzmán’s lawyers, said. “We did all we could as defense lawyers.”
U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue called the conviction “a victory for the American people who suffered so much.” He added: “There are those who say the war on drugs is not worth fighting. Those people are wrong.”
Guzmán’s heavily guarded trial took place under intense media scrutiny and high-security measures including bomb-sniffing dogs, police snipers, and radiation sensors.
The trial revealed explosive accounts of massive amounts of money coming to the U.S. by the drug trade and evidence that Guzmán and his men drugged and raped young girls. The details also provided a look into cartel culture.
The New York Times recounted other revealed details, such as traffickers taking target practice with a bazooka and a murder plot involving a cyanide-laced arepa.
Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said the trial demonstrated the American government’s “tenacity and commitment to pursuing kingpins like Guzmán.”
“This conviction serves as an irrefutable message to the kingpins that remain in Mexico, and those that aspire to be the next Chapo Guzmán, [...] eventually you will be apprehended and prosecuted,” Whitaker said.
The jury deliberated for 36 hours over five days, requesting thousands of pages of testimony from five of the government’s 14-star witnesses. At 12:25 p.m., Judge Brian M. Cogan announced from the bench that “a verdict has been reached.”
Six minutes later, after Juror 11 handed the verdict sheet to Judge Cogan, he delivered a verdict: Guzmán was guilty on all ten charges.
Multiple new sources described Mr. Guzmán as looking stunned when the verdict was declared. For the hundreds of thousands of families who lost members because of El Chapo’s violence, the guilty verdict undoubtedly comes as a bittersweet victory.