Tue. Oct 8th, 2019

MEXICAN DRUG LORD El CHAPO SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON

A federal judge sentenced Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to life in prison plus 30 years, according to the US Attorneys for the Eastern District of New York.

The Court also ordered “El Chapo” to pay $12.6 Billion in forfeiture.

Restitution will be determined later.

Before today’s sentencing, attorney Mariel Colon — who has visited Guzman regularly in prison before, during and after his trial — said she is optimistic about his chances on appeal.

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, 61, was convicted of 10 counts in February. The drug lord who once headed a criminal enterprise that spanned continents and triggered waves of bloodshed throughout his native Mexico.

Here’s the full list of the counts for which he was convicted:

  1. Engaging in a Continuing Criminal Enterprise
  2. International Cocaine, Heroin, Methamphetamine and Marijuana Manufacture and Distribution Conspiracy
  3. Cocaine Importation Conspiracy
  4. Cocaine Distribution Conspiracy
  5. International Distribution of Cocaine
  6. International Distribution of Cocaine
  7. International Distribution of Cocaine
  8. International Distribution of Cocaine
  9. Use of Firearms
  10. Conspiracy to Launder Narcotics Proceeds

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who has been in isolation for two-and-a-half years, is expected to serve out his sentence in the nation’s most secure federal prison in Florence, Colorado.

“He’s going to Supermax, I’m sure, in Colorado,” Guzman lawyer Jeffrey Lichtman told CNN’s “New Day” the day after he was convicted. “No one has ever escaped. It’s absolutely impossible. It’s not even an issue.”

Where is he now? Until he is transferred, Guzman remains at the Metropolitan Correction Center, a federal prison in Manhattan. He is able to be visited by members of his legal team any day of the week, and is allowed to receive a phone call from his sister every 15-20 days, attorney Mariel Colon said.

But once he is transferred to Colorado, attorney visits may be more limited, she said.

Why Supermax matters: Guzman’s history escaping prison has weighed on prosecutors’ minds, both during his trial and after his conviction. Guzman escaped from Mexican prisons twice.

In 2001 Guzman escaped by hiding in a laundry cart. He spent the next 13 years in hiding in and around his home state of Sinaloa.

He was recaptured in 2014, but he escaped from the Mexican prison a second time, on July 11, 2015, through a tunnel his associates built directly into his cell.

Lawyer Kicks:

One of El Chapo’s defense attorneys, Jeffrey Lichtman, said this trial was “not justice.” He said to reporters outside the courthouse following Guzman’s sentencing that his client behaved like a gentleman, and that he respects the American justice system.

“All he wanted, and he said to me from day one, ‘I just want a fair trial. You tell me that I can get justice here, I just want a fair trial.’ And at the end of the day, we like to pretend that it was justice—it was not justice. You can’t have a situation where jurors are running around lying, lying to a judge, lying to a judge about what they were doing and learning about allegations that were purposely kept out by the government,” he said.

Lichtman said the trial, and the $12.6 billion El Chapo is required to forfeit, is all part of a show.

“It’s a fiction. It’s part of the show trial that we’re here for,” Lichtman said. “They’ve been looking for his assets for how long, decades?”

When Lichtman was asked about supermax federal prison in Florence, Colorado where Guzman is expected to spend the rest of his life, he said, “You can bury Joaquin Guzman under tons of steel in Colorado, and make him disappear, but you’re never going to remove the stink from this verdict due to the failure to order a hearing on the misconduct of the jury in this case”.

More context: The identities of the jurors who decided El Chapo’s fate have remained anonymous for their own safety. But shortly after the verdict, one juror spoke to Vice News anonymously and alleged a wide range of possible juror misconduct, ranging from following news reports about the trial, which was expressly forbidden, to lying to Judge Cogan about whether they’d been exposed to certain media reports.

Cogan denied Guzman’s request for a new trial and a hearing to investigate the claims.

When Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, it could be the last time the public — and even some members of his family — ever see him in person.

Guzman, 62, was convicted in February by a jury of all 10 counts he faced, including engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise and drug trafficking charges, among others. Prosecutors have called him a “ruthless and bloodthirsty leader” of the Sinaloa cartel and are seeking a life sentence.

Witnesses during the trial testified that Guzman ordered and sometimes took part in the torture and murder of perceived cartel enemies.

Attorney Mariel Colon, who has visited Guzman regularly in prison before, during and after his trial, says she is optimistic about his chances on appeal.

But if the appeal is not successful, “then this will be the last time the public will see El Chapo,” Colon told CNN. “It could be potentially also the last time El Chapo could see his wife.”

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