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Iran Press TV

Mexican drug cartel found guilty in US court, faces life in jail

Iran Press TV

Wed Feb 13, 2019 01:21AM

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, Mexico's most notorious drug lord, has been found guilty in a US court and is to face a life sentence over charges of smuggling tons of drugs to the United States.

The ruling was made by jurors in the federal court in Brooklyn on Tuesday after convicting the 61-year-old head of the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel on all 10 counts brought by US prosecutors.

Guzman was found guilty of running a massive drug operation that employed thousands of people, laundered billions of dollars in profits back to Mexico and used hitmen to carry out murders, kidnappings and acts of torture.

Earlier in the month, Guzman was also accused of pedophilia over accusations of sexually abusing underage girls, according to CBS News.

The Tuesday verdict came after an 11-week trial with testimony from more than 50 prosecution witnesses, including 14 former associates of Guzman's who took the stand against him, and a 30-minute single-witness defense case.

"It is a sentence from which there is no escape and no return," US Attorney Richard Donohue said outside Brooklyn federal court.

"This conviction is a victory for the American people, who have suffered so long and so much while Guzman made billions pouring poison over our southern border … There are those who say the war on drugs is not worth fighting. Those people are wrong," he added.

Donohue said he expected Guzman to receive life without parole when the kingpin will be sentenced on June 25.

Angel Melendez, a senior FBI official in New York and the US Homeland Security Investigations' special agent in charge, hailed the verdict and said El Chapo's conviction would send a message to other kingpins that, "You are not unreachable, you are not untouchable, and your day will come."

During the trials, the drug lord's lawyers had time and again characterized him as a scapegoat who had been persecuted, while his partner, Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, was allowed to run free.

Guzman staged two dramatic escapes from Mexican high-security prisons, one in 2001 and another one in 2015 through a 1.5-kilometer underground tunnel large enough to ride a motorcycle.

He was finally imprisoned in 2016 and then extradited to the US.

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