Mexican cartel kingpin El Chapo’s beauty queen wife wells up with tears and gives him a thumbs up as he is found GUILTY on all charges in New York drug trafficking trial
- The jury reached its verdict on Tuesday after six days of deliberations
- They had to decide on 10 counts including weapons offenses, drug trafficking, money laundering and criminal enterprise
- He was convicted on all ten and will now spend the rest of his life in US custody
- His lawyers said they planned to appeal the conviction afterwards
- Among those in the courthouse on Tuesday was the defendant’s younger wife
- She had tears in her eyes as the verdict was read aloud but gave him a thumbs up when he turned to look at her and smile
- He also blew her a kiss after learning that he would spend the rest of his life in jail
- The crucial charge was the criminal enterprise count which carried a mandatory life sentence
- The trial began in November last year and heard from 56 prosecution witnesses
El Chapo, the notorious Mexican drug lord, has been found guilty on all counts at his New York drug trafficking trial and will spend the rest of his life in US custody.
The drug dealer, whose real name is Joaquin Guzman, was convicted on all 10 counts that were presented to the jury on Tuesday after six days of deliberations.
The charges included seven drug trafficking charges, one count of engaging in a criminal enterprise, one count of money laundering and one charge of firearms offenses.
The criminal enterprise count carries a mandatory life sentence.
Among those in the courtroom on Tuesday to watch the infamous drug dealer meet his fate was his 29-year-old, ex-beauty queen wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro.
After the verdict was read out and translated for the defendant, he turned to look at her and blow her a kiss.
She smiled in response and, with tears in her eyes, gave him a thumbs up.
They have been married since she was 18. Coronel has worn headphones throughout the trial so that she could understand the proceedings.
Her husband appeared emotionless as the verdict was translated to him. His lawyers have since released a statement to say they plan to appeal the conviction and that he was ‘upbeat’ despite it.
El Chapo, the notorious Mexican drug lord, was found guilty on Tuesday of drug trafficking, criminal enterprise and firearms offenses after a three-month trial in Brooklyn. He will now likely spend the rest of his life in a US prison. He is shown in his 2016 mugshot
Emma Coronel Aispuro, El Chapo’s 29-year-old former beauty queen wife, is shown leaving the courthouse after the verdict. She gave him a thumbs up when he learned his fate and had tears in her eyes but they had dried by the time she made her way to a waiting car
Aispuro fought through a sea of photographers and was flanked by NYPD officers in addition to her own, private security to leave the courthouse
Aispuro was comforted by a friend as she left the courthouse amid a sea of media on Tuesday
She is shown arriving at the court during a blizzard on Tuesday morning. She has attended every day of her husband’s trial
‘The government’s reliance on the testimony of cooperating witnesses laid bare the corruption of the criminal justice system where freedom is traded by the government in exchange for testimony,’ it said.
The trial included testimony from former associates and employees of the drug kingpin who is considered one of the most dangerous men in the world.
Count 1 – Engaging in a criminal enterprise
Count 2 – International Cocaine, Heroin, Methamphetamine and Marijuana Manufacture and Distribution Conspiracy
Count 3 – Cocaine Importation Conspiracy
Count 4 – Cocaine Distribution Conspiracy
Count 5 – International Distribution of Cocaine
Count 6 – International Distribution of Cocaine
Count 7 – International Distribution of Cocaine
Count 8 – International Distribution of Cocaine
Count 9 – Use of firearms
Count 10 – Conspiracy to launder narcotics proceeds
They spoke at length about how he ordered killings and controlled a multi-billion dollar Mexican cartel including when he was on the run from Mexican authorities after breaking out of prison.
El Chapo’s defense spent just 30 minutes trying to negate the months of witness testimony.
They claimed he is being framed and that the real leader of the Sinaloa cartel is someone else.
After the verdict was returned, members of the defense team described it as ‘devastating’.
Hours before the deliberation, Jeffrey Lichtman, one of his lawyers tweeted a link to The Clash song Guns of Brixton which, with lyrics including ‘When the law break in How you gonna go? Shot down on the pavement or waiting on death row?’ serves as the anthem for going down fighting.
Lichtman said after the trial that he can ‘proudly say’ the defense ‘left it all on the battlefield’ by presenting half-an-hour of arguments.
In a press conference afterwards, he said El Chapo was ‘upbeat’ despite the verdict.
‘He was very clear to us, he is a very upbeat guy.
‘Usually it’s the other way around. This is a positive guy, he has always been positive with us.
‘We judge him differently than you judge him. We judge him differently than society judges him… we judge him on how he is with us.
‘He has always been a gentleman, he has always been supportive, he has always been happy and appreciative of all of our efforts,’ he said.
U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan praised jurors for taking their time to meticulously deliberate the charges in the face of global interest and pressure to convict one of the most notorious criminals of all time.
He said their treatment of the trial ‘made him ‘very proud to be an American.’
After the trial, US Attorney Richard Donoghue said El Chapo would have ‘no escape’ from his conviction.
‘It is a sentence from which there is no escape and there is no return.
‘This conviction is a victory for the American people who have suffered for so long and so muhc while Guzman made billions pouring poison over our southern border.
‘This is a victory for the Mexican people who have lost more than 100,000 lives in drug-related violence.
Triumphant: US Attorney Richard Donoghue said El Chapo would have ‘no escape’ from his conviction
Defense attorneys Jeffrey Lichtman (left) and Eduardo Balarezo (right) are shown arriving for the verdict on Tuesday. Lichtman said afterwards that he could ‘proudly say’ they left it ‘all on the battlefield’. Their defense was just 30 minutes long. The say they plan to appeal the verdict and that the witnesses who testified against their client only did so because they got immunity in exchange
Hours before the verdict was returned, Lichtman tweeted this link to The Clash song Guns of Brixton which serves as an anthem for the notion of going down fighting with lyrics including ‘When the law break in How you gonna go? Shot down on the pavement or waiting on death row’
‘It is a victory for every family who have lost a loved one to the black hole of addiction.
‘There are those who say the war on drugs is not worth fighting. Those people are wrong.’
He added that the trial ‘pulled back the curtain on international drug dealing’ and said it exposed, for the first time, the ‘endemic corruption’ which facilitates drug trafficking.
‘This is a day of reckoning but there will be more days of reckoning,’ Donoghue added.
After the verdict was returned, the Justice Department gave further details of his criminal empire which involved the cartel selling tonnes of drugs to distributors all over the US.
The evidence from the trial included phone calls in which he was recorded ordering his associates to send ‘ice’ – the colloquial term for methamphetamine – to various states across the US.
He also ordered the mass distribution of cocaine, heroin and marijuana across the country. Tuesday’s verdict is the drug dealer’s third conviction.
He has escaped from Mexican prison twice in the last 20 years but was handed over to the US in January 2016 by President Enrique Nieto who has been accused of taking pay-offs from the very cartel that Guzman runs in exchange for leaving him alone.
No cameras have been allowed in the courtroom since the start of the trial but the defendant has been depicted in sketches such as this one
El Chapo was finally captured for the last time in Mexico in 2016 after being on the run for more than a year. He has broken out of prison twice over the last 20 years to the mortification of the Mexican authorities he and his cronies have long-claimed are corrupt
In this 2016 image taken inside his prison cell in Mexico, El Chapo is seen staring at the ceiling
Nieto has always denied the allegations.
Since he was brought to the US, Guzman has been held in solitary confinement in prisons in Manhattan and in a secret location for the duration of his trial.
When it began, the NYPD had to close the Brooklyn Bridge to ensure there was no interference as he was transported to the courthouse for the first time in an extraordinary security measure.
Tuesday’s verdict brings an end to Guzman’s infamous reign as the leader of the Sinaloa cartel. He is shown in 1993, after his first arrest
The trial, which began in November, has attracted Mexican television stars and the gaze of the world’s media.
It was not without obstacle.
Among the most challenging stages was jury selection when dozens of people had to be discounted after admitting that they would fear for their life if they were selected.
Others were rejected after confessing to admiring Guzman including one man who even asked a court bailiff to help him get the defendant’s autograph.
There were allegations at one stage that the defendant was secretly communicating with his former beauty queen wife who was seen using a forbidden cell phone during some proceedings.
FBI agents also testified in addition to the criminals the defendant once employed.
Part of his defense was that they could not be trusted because they were violent criminals.
Before the case even reached trial, his attorneys argued that he had been mistreated while in custody and that his health was declining.
They suggested that he was losing his mind as a result of the solitary confinement he was subjected to and that his memory was also imploding.
During the course of the trial, the only people who were allowed to visit him were his twin seven-year-old daughters.
The beginning of the end? El Chapo was arrested in Mexico after meeting with actor Sean Penn and Kate del Castillo while he was on the run from authorities. After his arrest, Mexican officials suggested that their meeting, which Penn wrote about for Rolling Stone, led to his capture
Misplaced confidence: On Wednesday, Balarezo Law tweeted a photo of Hijos de Villa reposado tequila, which comes inside of a bottle shaped like a firearm, writing, ‘For after trial. #ElChapo’
El Chapo timeline: From his first arrest in 1993 to 2019
1993: First arrest in Mexico
2001: Breaks out of jail for the first time with help of guards
2014: Is rearrested in Mexico after 13 years on the run
July 2015: Breaks out of prison for a second time through secret tunnel
October 2015: Meets with Sean Penn and Kate Del Castillo in Mexico
Days later, the safe house is raided but he escapes
January 8 2016: Captured in Los Michos
January 9 2016: Sean Penn’s Rolling Stone article is published
January 2017: Extradited back to the US
October 2017: Netflix documentary about meeting from Kate Del Castillo is published
November 2017: El Chapo’s lawyers say his mental health is deteriorating
November 2018: Trial finally begins after jury deliberations
February 5: Closing arguments in the trial
February 12: Jury reaches verdict
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