There’s always something interesting happening somewhere you know. I mean I have just learnt that the notorious El Chapo has been literally thrown back into prison, for good this time. I am not a law expert but how does someone get sentenced to life in prison…plus 30 additional years?! Balance me there… Fact is ,the next time you see a picture of him as a free man anywhere, it’s definitely for a #ThrowbackThursday social media post…
Anyway, a US judge sentenced Mexican drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán to life in prison plus 30 years. Yes I had to repeat that! Guzmán, 62, was found guilty of 10 charges, including drug trafficking and money laundering, by a federal court in New York in February.
He escaped a Mexican jail through a tunnel in 2015 but was later arrested. He was extradited to the US in 2017. He is a former head of the Sinaloa cartel, which officials say was the biggest supplier of drugs to the US.
Speaking through an interpreter just before the sentencing, Guzmán said in the Brooklyn courtroom his confinement in the US had amounted to “psychological, emotional, mental torture 24 hours a day”. He also said he had received an unfair trial, accusing jurors of misconduct.
That clearly rankled prosecutors. Pointing her finger directly at Guzmán, Assistant US Attorney Gina Parlovecchio hit back and said he was uniquely deserving of a life sentence because of his greed, violence, and corruption.
The life sentence was the minimum Guzmán faced. The additional 30 years were for unlawful uses of firearms. Prosecutors said Guzmán would be serving his sentence behind “tonnes of steel”, referring to a high-security prison in Colorado.
Guzmán’s lawyer Jeffrey Lichtman announced plans to appeal against the verdict.
He argued that the trial had not been conducted fairly and claimed that jurors were influenced by media coverage.”It was a show trial,” he said. This chap wants to get all the drug money into lawyer fees, isn’t it?
Had you been with me I would be telling you who exactly Guzman was. Lol, I know right, you have watched the popular TV series NARCOS so you know who he is. That’s not stopping me though…😂
“El Chapo” (or “Shorty”) ran the cartel in northern Mexico. In 2009, Guzmán entered Forbes’ list of the world’s richest men at number 701, with an estimated worth of $1 billion.
He was accused of helping bring hundreds of tonnes of cocaine into the US and of conspiring to make and distribute heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana. He was also said to have used hitmen to carry out hundreds of murders, assaults, kidnappings and acts of torture.
Key associates, including one former lieutenant, testified against Guzmán. Talk about comrade turned snitch. Happens every day. Yes?
The trial provided shocking revelations about the drug lord’s life-Some of which were omitted by the TV series. Court papers accused him of having girls as young as 13 drugged before raping them.
Former bodyguard Isaias Valdez Rios said Guzmán beat two people who had joined a rival cartel until they were “completely like rag dolls”. He then shot them in the head and ordered their bodies be thrown on a fire.
In another incident, he had a member of the rival Arellano Felix cartel burned and imprisoned before taking him to a graveyard, shooting him and having him buried alive.
Guzmán is also alleged to have had his own cousin killed for lying about being out of town, and ordered a hit on the brother of another cartel leader because he did not shake his hand.
The court heard details of his escape from Mexico’s maximum-security Altiplano prison. His sons bought a property near the prison and a GPS watch smuggled into the prison gave diggers his exact location. He escaped by riding a specially adapted small motorcycle through the tunnel.
He also used software on his phone to spy on his wife and mistresses, which allowed the FBI to present his text messages in court.
In one set of texts, he recounted to his wife how he had fled a villa during a raid by US and Mexican officials, before asking her to bring him new clothes, shoes and black moustache dye.- the FBI really went all in!
It looks like El Chapo knew his fate even before he entered the courtroom. The mandatory sentence for his crimes is life in prison and from the reports making circles, his focus throughout the hearing often strayed to his wife and family who were present in court.
From the defence table, he waved and blew them kisses, knowing it may be the last time he ever sees them. He also used his last moment in public to complain about the US justice system, showing no remorse for his crimes.
Guzmán is the highest profile Mexican drug cartel boss so far to stand trial in the US.
The drug war in Mexico – pitting the Mexican and US authorities against cartels smuggling drugs into the US and the cartels against each other – has killed about 100,000 people in a little more than a decade will probably go on, I think, which will bare the incompetence of the Mexican judicial system. Had you been here, you’d probably agree with me that these cartels will somehow still exist. The market is there, and the security infrastructure can definitely be manipulated again… It only takes one corrupt official.
Guzmán achieved notoriety for twice escaping custody in Mexico as well as avoiding arrest on numerous other occasions. Among some, in his home state, he had the status of a folk hero, a popular subject of “narcocorridos” – musical tributes to drugs barons. Even beyond Mexico, US Hip hop artist 2 Chainz has a record in which he refers to himself as El Chapo Junior!
In 2016, El Chapo gave an interview to Hollywood actor Sean Penn in a Mexican jungle following his escape the previous year and boasted that he was the world’s leading supplier of heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana. A stupid move which possibly led to his arrest.
Interesting to note, New York’s Brooklyn Bridge was closed each time the motorcade containing Guzmán drove across it and the trial jurors were kept anonymous and were escorted to and from the courthouse in Brooklyn by armed marshals after prosecutors argued that Guzmán had a history of intimidating witnesses and even ordering their murders. Funny how money can achieve anything…
Hats off to the US authorities for pinning down El Chapo, but does this mark the end of drug smuggling from South America into the US? …. Again….Time