Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, Leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, Found Guilty

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Joaquin El Chapo Guzman, the notorious leader of Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel, has been found guilty, after six days of deliberations, on all ten counts associated with running a global narcotics distribution organization, in Brooklyn Federal court.

Guzman, who is often known as "El Chapo," sat stoic in the courtroom while the verdict was read and apparently, it has been reported showed some surprise over the verdicts.

The men and women of the jury, who have been cautioned to retain their anonymity, deliberated over six days, sending both sides into mental duress as they requested clarifications and read outs on the very lengthy testimony.

Given the duty, which many have compared to the juries of former Mafia Don John "Teflon" Gotti, the jury sat through an enormous amount of violent and shocking testimony detailing the pint-sized leader's ruthless and merciless brutalities.

Throughout the three month trial, "the jury had certainly kept both sides on tenterhooks, deliberating over 35 hours spread across six days. During their deliberations, jurors not only asked the usual legal questions, but also took the unusual step of requesting the entire testimonies — amounting to thousands of pages — for five of the government's 14 cooperating witnesses," the New York Times reported.

Security throughout the trial had been visibly increased with Federal Marshalls carrying assault weapons, bomb-sniffing dogs, in addition to the usual security measures. The Sinaloa Cartel has been notorious in controlling the judicial process through hits and assassinations.

Guzman was convicted of all ten counts of a superseding indictment, which was filed based on new evidence and included narcotics trafficking, using a firearm in furtherance of his drug crimes and participating in a money laundering conspiracy.  

The Evidence

"I am pleased that the Department has brought Joaquin Guzman Loera (El Chapo) to justice by securing a conviction against this drug kingpin. As was clear to the jury, Guzman's massive, multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise was responsible for flooding the streets of the United States with hundreds of tons of cocaine, as well as enormous quantities of other dangerous drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine.  The trial evidence also overwhelmingly showed that Guzman's unceasing efforts to expand his cartel's control and consolidate its power left a wake of corruption and violence in communities in both Mexico and the United States," said Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker.

The jury conviction of Guzman proved the evidence presented was convincing and compelling and provided proof that Guzman was the principal leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, a Mexican based narcotics organization, and crimes associated with his drug trafficking cartel were heinous.

Guzman far reaching organization was responsible for importing and distributing large amounts of cocaine, marijuana and heroin into select cities in the United States for further distribution. His target cities included Arizona, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.

The profit from the illegal drug trade was reportedly in the billions with pictures of pallets of US Dollars being housed in rooms, floor to ceiling. The illicit proceeds were transported back to Mexico in the same manner the illegal drugs were exported.

Guzman used various methods to transport the cartel's narcotics into the United States, including submarines, carbon fiber airplanes, trains with secret compartments and transnational underground tunnels. 

"Multiple witnesses testified about seizures by law enforcement officers of massive amounts of cocaine, heroin and marijuana linked to the Sinaloa Cartel.  One of the largest seizures of drugs bound for the United States involved over seven tons of cocaine concealed in jalapeño cans. The jury also heard recordings of Guzman Loera's own damning words discussing his drug trafficking, corruption and violence.  The calls included Guzman Loera discussing sending "ice," meaning methamphetamine, to Los Angeles, California; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Ohio and Tucson, Arizona," the DEA announced.

Prosecutors committed themselves to presenting a complete picture of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, to dispel the myths and the image presented by Hollywood, the Defense and the PR machine that presented him a happily married family man.

The presentation of evidence included testimony from fourteen cooperating witness many of them having seen first hand the brutalities, violence and viciousness used by "El Chapo" in controlling his organization.

"A former hitman testified that Guzman Loera beat two men with a tree branch until their bodies "were completely like rag dolls," before shooting the men and ordering their bodies be tossed into a bonfire.  The former hitman also testified that Guzman Loera interrogated a rival drug cartel member, shot him and ordered that he be buried alive.  In an intercepted call, the jury heard Guzman Loera order one of his sicarios to kidnap rival cartel members, but not to kill them without first checking with him," the DEA said.

"Guzman had the capital to absorb huge losses and run his enterprise with impunity; the enormous power to corrupt; and the capability to employ violence on a massive scale.  This case, and this conviction serves as an irrefutable message to the kingpins that remain in Mexico, and those that aspire to be the next Chapo Guzman, that eventually you will be apprehended and prosecuted.  Finally, this verdict demonstrates that the United States, working in close partnership with the Mexican government, will continue to bring all possible resources to bear in its fight against international drug traffickers and their violent organizations," Acting Attorney General Whitaker said.

The Defense team of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has said they plan to appeal the conviction. For now, Guzman will remian in custody in maximum security in Brooklyn, awaiting sentencing which is scheduled for June. 

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