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Homeland Security

Mexico's 'El Chapo' Found Guilty in US Drug Trial

By VOA News February 12, 2019

Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has been convicted of drug-trafficking and related charges at a trial in New York.

The jury convicted Guzman Tuesday after six days of deliberations on all ten counts against him and now faces the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison.

The end of the three-month trial marks the end of Guzman's rule of the Sinaloa Cartel, which prosecutors described as "the world's largest and most prolific drug trafficking organization."

Federal prosecutors said Guzman's rise to power began in the 1980's, when his expertise at smuggling cocaine into the U.S. produced hefty proceeds for Colombian cartels.

The 61-year-old will likely be sent to a U.S. maximum security prison to prevent another escape. Guzman broke out of Mexican prisons twice before he was recaptured and extradited to the U.S. in 2017.

Prosecutors put more than 50 witnesses on the stand to explain how the cartel made billions of dollars importing tons of cocaine, heroin, methamphetemine and marijuana into the U.S.

Witnesses described killings and bribes and detailed how drugs were transported using tanker trucks, trains, and even shipments of canned peppers.

Deliberations by the jurors, whose identities were kept secret, were complicated by the complexity of the trial. They were tasked with making 53 decisions about whether prosecutors had proven various elements of the case.

Prosecutors portrayed Guzman as an overseer of brutality across national borders.

Guzman's defense argued he was targeted as a "fall guy" by another Sinaloan drug kingpin, Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, who remains at large. Prosecutors maintained Guzman and Zambada were partners.

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