'El Chapo' Drug Lord Sentenced To Life In US Prison

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Posted: Jul 17, 2019 10:55 AM
'El Chapo' Drug Lord Sentenced To Life In US Prison

The Associated Press reports that Joaquin Guzman, aka El Chapo, has been sentenced to life in a United States prison on Wednesday. 

According to the AP, "The 62-year-old drug lord was brought to the U.S. to stand trial after he twice broke out of Mexican prisons."

El Chapo was leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, which the Department of Justice described as "one of the world's most prolific, violent and powerful drug cartels." In total, El Chapo's gang is responsible for "40% to 60% of Mexico's drug trade, with earnings at around $3 billion annually," according to CNN. 

In 2014, El Chapo boasted that he had either personally killed or had ordered 2,000-3,000 people killed. 

El Chapo has been arrested by Mexican authorities twice. El Chapo was arrested in 1993, but managed to run his cartel from behind bars. He then escaped the Mexican prison in 2001. He then went on the lam while still accumulating hundreds of millions of dollars from his illicit drug trade. 

Again, in February 2014 Mexican authorities apprehended the drug lord but he subsequently escaped in June 2015. Finally, in 2016 authorities located him and extradited him to the United States. 

Since then, he has been held in a maximum-security prison. 

Wednesday morning, a federal judge sentenced him to life in prison without parole. 

As reported by the AP, El Chapo's attorneys maintained his innocence throughout the trial:

At the trial, Guzman’s lawyers argued that he was the fall guy for other kingpins who were better at paying off top Mexican politicians and law enforcement officials to protect them while the U.S. government looked the other way.

Prosecution descriptions of an empire that paid for private planes, beachfront villas and a private zoo were a fallacy, his lawyers say. And the chances the U.S. government could collect on a roughly $12.5 billion forfeiture order are zero, they add.

The government’s case, defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman said recently, was “all part of a show trial.”