Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was found guilty on all counts in an international drug distribution trial in New York on Tuesday, NBC Connecticut reports. Jurors for the case convicted Guzman of 10 counts of drug trafficking and the sentencing date is set for June 25. It is likely that Guzman, who was arrested in 2015, will spend the rest of his life in prison.
The identities of the New York jurors that found Guzman guilty have been hidden for their own security during the extensive trial. The jurors reportedly spent six days deliberating, sorting through what officials called an “avalanche” of evidence gathered since the 1980s. Based on the evidence, they found that Guzman and his Sinaloa drug cartel made billions in profits by smuggling cocaine, heroin, and a plethora of other drugs into the U.S. Guzman was seemingly calm during Tuesday’s verdict, supported by his wife Emma Coronel Aispuro. As the jury was discharged, Aispuro reportedly gave her husband a thumbs-up before his conviction was announced.
Guzman’s trial began in November 2018, three years after Guzman was convicted for fleeing the Altiplano Federal Prison, a maximum security prison in Mexico, through a tunnel in a shower. He was arrested and sent to that prison in 2001 after escaping the Puente Grande prison in 2001, which he achieved by hiding in a laundry cart.
The trial included testimonies from Guzman’s former informant, who claimed Guzman ordered several attempts on his life due to the informant speaking against him. More notably, Juan Carlos Ramirez Abadia, a former Colombian kingpin who supplied Guzman’s cartel with cocaine, testified with a completely different face, which he changed through plastic surgery for his own protection. Abadia said during the trial that his jawbone, cheekbone, eyes, ears, mouth, and nose were all distorted due to his fear of Guzman finding him.
Guzman’s drug deals were the plot for multiple documentaries and TV series, including Narcos and El Chapo, both available on Netflix. Nicole Hong of the Wall Street Journal said on Twitter that Alejandro Edda, who portrays Guzman on Narcos, attended the trial.
Spectators I met at the El Chapo trial said it was like watching real-life "Narcos."— Nicole Hong (@nicole_hong) February 12, 2019
The "Narcos" cast member who plays El Chapo on Netflix (@Alejo_Edda) actually attended parts of the trial.https://t.co/y4snNDaQkc
Jeffery Litchman was Guzman’s defense attorney for the trial and said the news of the conviction was “devastating.” U.S. attorney Richard P. Donoghue said during a news conference in Brooklyn on Tuesday that the news was a victory and he is happy Guzman is officially off the streets.
“His 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,” Donoghue said.