Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman sentenced to life in prison

The Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has been sentenced to life behind bars in a U.S. prison.

News 12 Staff

Jul 17, 2019, 2:57 PM

Updated 1,792 days ago

Share:

By TOM HAYS
Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) - The Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has been sentenced to life behind bars in a U.S. prison, a humbling end for a drug lord once notorious for his ability to kill, bribe or tunnel his way out of trouble.
A federal judge in Brooklyn handed down the sentence Wednesday, five months after Guzman's conviction in an epic drug-trafficking case.
The 62-year-old drug lord, who had been protected in Mexico by an army of gangsters and an elaborate corruption operation, was brought to the U.S. to stand trial after he twice escaped from Mexican prisons.
Before he was sentenced, Guzman, complained about the conditions of his confinement and told the judge he was denied a fair trial. He said U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan failed to thoroughly investigate claims of juror misconduct.
"My case was stained and you denied me a fair trial when the whole world was watching," Guzman said in court through an interpreter. "When I was extradited to the United States, I expected to have a fair trial, but what happened was exactly the opposite."
undefined
 
The harsh sentence was pre-ordained. The guilty verdict in February at Guzman's 11-week trial triggered a mandatory sentence of life without parole.
The evidence showed that under Guzman's orders, the Sinaloa cartel was responsible for smuggling mountains of cocaine and other drugs into the United States during his 25-year reign, prosecutors said in court papers re-capping the trial. They also said his "army of sicarios" was under orders to kidnap, torture and murder anyone who got in his way.
The defense argued he was framed by other traffickers who became government witnesses so they could get breaks in their own cases.
Guzman has been largely cut off from the outside world since his extradition in 2017 and his remarks in the courtroom Wednesday could be the last time the public hears from him. Guzman thanked his family for giving him "the strength to bare this torture that I have been under for the past 30 months."
Wary of his history of escaping from Mexican prisons, U.S. authorities have kept him in solitary confinement in an ultra-secure unit at a Manhattan jail and under close guard at his appearances at the Brooklyn courthouse where his case unfolded.
Experts say he will likely wind up at the federal government's "Supermax" prison in Florence, Colorado, known as the "Alcatraz of the Rockies." Most inmates at Supermax are given a television, but their only actual view of the outside world is a 4-inch window. They have minimal interaction with other people and eat all their meals in their cells.
While the trial was dominated by Guzman's persona as a near-mythical outlaw who carried a diamond-encrusted handgun and stayed one step ahead of the law, the jury never heard from Guzman himself, except when he told the judge he wouldn't testify.
But evidence at Guzman's trial suggested his decision to stay quiet at the defense table was against his nature: Cooperating witnesses told jurors he was a fan of his own rags-to-riches narco story, always eager to find an author or screenwriter to tell it. He famously gave an interview to American actor Sean Penn while he was a fugitive, hiding in the mountains after accomplices built a long tunnel to help him escape from a Mexican prison.
There also were reports Guzman 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.
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."
Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


More from News 12
2:28
India defeats USA in last Nassau Cricket World Cup match

India defeats USA in last Nassau Cricket World Cup match

2:13
Sun and clouds today; rain to end the workweek

Sun and clouds today; rain to end the workweek

2:01
Indian-American fans torn between nations as Cricket World Cup wraps up in Nassau

Indian-American fans torn between nations as Cricket World Cup wraps up in Nassau

2:15
New York launches Mobile ID to digitize driver’s licenses, non-driver IDs. Here’s how to get it.

New York launches Mobile ID to digitize driver’s licenses, non-driver IDs. Here’s how to get it.

0:25
Rockville Centre to fly flags at half-staff in honor of officer killed in off-duty crash

Rockville Centre to fly flags at half-staff in honor of officer killed in off-duty crash

0:25
Police: Mom, 2 young children hit by car in Aquebogue

Police: Mom, 2 young children hit by car in Aquebogue

0:46
Students in East Islip display smashed cars on front lawn of high school for drunk driving awareness

Students in East Islip display smashed cars on front lawn of high school for drunk driving awareness

1:28
Garden Guide: This is why your plants are blooming better than usual this year

Garden Guide: This is why your plants are blooming better than usual this year

1:35
What's Cooking: Uncle Giuseppe's Marketplace's lemon iced almond biscotti

What's Cooking: Uncle Giuseppe's Marketplace's lemon iced almond biscotti

2:12
Exclusive: Never-before-seen photos show Rex Heuermann around the time of the Gilgo Beach killings

Exclusive: Never-before-seen photos show Rex Heuermann around the time of the Gilgo Beach killings

2:05
JetBlue to begin nonstop service from MacArthur Airport to 3 Florida destinations

JetBlue to begin nonstop service from MacArthur Airport to 3 Florida destinations

1:35
Future of Brentwood's annual Central American Festival in limbo after Town of Islip denies permit request

Future of Brentwood's annual Central American Festival in limbo after Town of Islip denies permit request

21:13
Kane In Your Corner: Victims of the System

Kane In Your Corner: Victims of the System

0:24
Police: 3-year-old girl pulled from pool in Central Islip

Police: 3-year-old girl pulled from pool in Central Islip

0:25
MS-13 leader to face Central Islip judge on terrorism charges

MS-13 leader to face Central Islip judge on terrorism charges

0:38
Police: Possible human remains discovered at construction site at Eagle Rock Apartments in Woodbury

Police: Possible human remains discovered at construction site at Eagle Rock Apartments in Woodbury

0:24
Splish Splash to host Father's Day weekend belly flop contest

Splish Splash to host Father's Day weekend belly flop contest

0:41
Medford’s first library celebrated at grand opening

Medford’s first library celebrated at grand opening

Is your dad awesome? Long Island tell us why your dad rocks!

Is your dad awesome? Long Island tell us why your dad rocks!

2024 Cricket World Cup on Long Island - Special Coverage

2024 Cricket World Cup on Long Island - Special Coverage