NEW YORK – US judges have sentenced Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to life in prison after a court hearing here on Wednesday.
US District Judge Brian Cogan announced the verdict at a federal court in New York City’s Brooklyn borough. Cogan also added 30 years to the sentence and ordered Guzman to pay USD12.6 billion in forfeiture to the US government.
Guzman, 62, was found guilty in February of all 10 criminal counts, including engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, murder conspiracy, and international distribution of drugs.
As the former leader of the world’s largest drug-trafficking organization, the Sinaloa Cartel, Guzman has smuggled over USD12 billion worth of heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana, and cocaine from Mexico into the United States over the years, according to federal prosecutors.
They have also described Guzman as “ruthless and bloodthirsty”, whose criminal acts are too many to be fully recorded.
In March, Guzman’s defense team requested a new trial, citing a Vice report, in which a juror claimed that at least five fellow jurors violated the judge’s orders as they consulted media coverage of the case during the trial.
Judge Cogan denied the bid earlier this month, saying that any rational jury would have found Guzman guilty based on the “mountain range of evidence” against him.
After the sentencing on Wednesday, one of Guzman’s lawyers, Jeffrey Lichtman, said outside the courthouse that his client didn’t get justice.
“It was a show trial, and it’s been so since Day One,” he said.
Guzman escaped from prison twice in Mexico before he was recaptured in 2016 and extradited to the United States in 2017. Since then he has been held in solitary confinement in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan, which is considered one of the most secure places in the United States. (Xinhua)