Mexican drug lord 'El Chapo' Guzman sentenced to life in prison

Cheryl Sanders
July 17, 2019

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.

"Since the government of the United States is going to send me to a prison where my name will not ever be heard again, I take advantage of this opportunity to say there was no justice here", he told the court.

Legal experts told the AP that Guzman likely will serve his sentence at the federal "Supermax" prison in Florence, Colorado, where he'll have a television but just a four-inch window to view the outside world.

At least one of Guzman's victims - a woman who prosecutors say survived a hit ordered by the kingpin - will make a statement at Wednesday's sentencing hearing.

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the Mexican drug lord found guilty of running a murderous criminal enterprise that smuggled tons of drugs into the United States, said Wednesday his confinement amounted to "mental torture" as a USA judge sentenced him to a mandatory life in prison plus 30 years.

Once one of the world's most powerful and notorious criminals, Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was jailed for life Wednesday - the mandatory sentence for a host of crimes spanning a quarter-century.

Yet the Special Agent in Charge of New York's Drug Enforcement Administration - Ray Donovan - fired back, "Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman was brought to the United States to face the one thing global drug traffickers fear the most, the American Judicial System".

Speaking through a translator at a federal court in Brooklyn, Guzman called his confinement in the United States "psychological, emotional, mental torture 24 hours a day".

Andrea Velez, a former associate of Guzman, said on Wednesday that Guzman had paid the Hell's Angels motorcycle gang $1 million to have her killed, and that she had escaped with the help of USA authorities.

During the epic three-month trial in NY, jurors heard evidence from 56 government witnesses, with many describing in exacting detail the cartel boss beating, shooting and even burying alive those who got in his way, including informants and rival gang members. Despite the fact he may be a good father, the overwhelming evil is so severe.

"I confess that I sinned, but I paid a high price for my faults", Velez said of her work with the cartel. I lost my family, my friends.

Guzman launched his career working in the cannabis fields of his home state of Sinaloa.

Current inmates include convicted "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski, Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols, the British "shoe bomber" Richard Reid and the Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is awaiting execution.

With the help of Christian Rodriguez, a Colombian who was El Chapo's communications chief, USA government agents intercepted some 200 conversations between the cartel boss and his associates, hired killers, and corrupt Mexican officials. Before he was finally captured in 2016, Guzman twice escaped maximum-security prisons in Mexico.

He also complained about the conditions of his confinement in NY.

Guzman's lawyers have said they intend to appeal his guilty verdict, citing a report that jurors disobeyed court rules by reading news reports about the case during the trial.

But Velez said she quickly learned, "If I left the organization, I could only do it in a plastic bag, feet first". "Joaquin's conviction and incarceration for drug trafficking will change nothing in the so-called war on drugs".

"We believe that's the one that supplies most of the drugs coming into the U.S.", she told AFP.

Other reports by iNewsToday