It took a while, but Mexican cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera was convicted today (Feb. 12) in a Brooklyn federal district court of multiple crimes including operating a continuing criminal enterprise and multiple charges of conspiracy to import and distribute cocaine, heroin and marijuana.
He was found guilty of all the charges he was facing.
El Chapo is also infamous for escaping not one but two supermax prisons in Mexico. But don’t expect such finesse stateside.
Reports the New York Times:
The guilty verdict against the kingpin, whose real name is Joaquín Guzmán Loera, ended the career of a legendary outlaw who also served as a dark folk hero in Mexico, notorious for his innovative smuggling tactics, his violence against competitors, his storied prison breaks and his nearly unstoppable ability to evade the Mexican authorities.
The jury’s decision came more than a week after the panel started deliberations at the trial in Federal District Court in Brooklyn where prosecutors presented a mountain of evidence against the cartel leader, including testimony from 56 witnesses, 14 of whom once worked with Mr. Guzmán. He faces life in prison at his sentencing.
Needless to say, the trial was bananas. Case in point:
At times, the trial was so bizarre it felt like a drug-world telenovela unfolding live in the courtroom. Last month, one of Mr. Guzmán’s mistresses tearfully proclaimed her love for him even as she testified against him from the stand. The following day, in what seemed like a coordinated show of solidarity, the kingpin and his wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, appeared in court in matching red velvet smoking jackets.
Toward the end of the proceeding, Alejandro Edda, an actor who plays El Chapo on the Netflix series “Narcos: Mexico,” showed up at the trial to study Mr. Guzmán. The crime lord flashed an ecstatic smile when told Mr. Edda had come to see him.
El Chapo is accused of making a whopping $14 billion during his run. It was revealed during the trial that he once paid an ex-Mexican President a $100M bribe.
The Sinaloa Cartel is still active.