El Chapo: Life Imprisonment for the Mexican “Drug Emperor”

  • Guzman managed to escape from a Mexican prison through a tunnel in 2015, but was later arrested.
  • He was also sentenced to 30 years imprisonment as a punishment for the illegal use of firearms.
  • The trial revealed shocking surprises in the life of the "drug emperor". The court documents included accusations that minors under the age of 13 were forced to use drugs before being raped.

Today, a Mexican drug tycoon Joaquin Guzman, a 62-year-old,  known as El Chapo, has been sentenced to life in prison. Guzman managed to escape from a Mexican prison through a tunnel in 2015 but was later arrested and handed over to the United States in 2017. Guzman was the leader of the Sinaloa drug trafficking group in northern Mexico, which officials say it was the largest supplier of drugs to the United States.

The Sinaloa Cartel also known as the Guzmán-Loera Organization, the Pacific Cartel, the Federation and the Blood Alliance, is an international drug trafficking, money laundering, and organized crime syndicate established during the late 1980s. The cartel is primarily based in the city of Culiacán, Sinaloa, with operations in the Mexican states of Baja California, Durango, Sonora, and Chihuahua.

Witnesses at the trial said he was torturing his rivals. Guzman, speaking through an interpreter before the verdict, at the Brooklyn courtroom, said that his detention in the United States was “psychological, emotional and mental torture 24 hours a day.” He also added that his trial was unfair and accused the jury of misconduct.

The life sentence is Guzman’s minimum sentence. He was also sentenced to 30 years imprisonment as a punishment for the illegal use of firearms. The court also ordered a fine of $ 12.6 billion. Prosecutors said Guzman will be serving his sentence behind “tons of steel,” a reference to a heavily guarded jail in Colorado.

In 2009, Guzman (known as “El Chapo” for short) joined the Forbes list of the world’s richest people, ranking 701, with a fortune of about $ 1 billion. Accused of helping to export hundreds of cocaine tons to the United States and distributing heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana drugs. He is said to have used professional killers to carry out hundreds of murders, kidnappings, and torture. A number of El Chapo’s confidants gave their testimony against their former leader during the trial.

The trial revealed shocking surprises in the life of the “drug emperor.” The court documents included accusations that minors under the age of 13 were forced to use drugs before being raped. Alex Sivuentes, a former drug dealer in Colombia, said Guzman was “describing the youngest girls as vitamins because he believed that sex with young girls gave him (life).”

Another witness recounted how he saw Gozman kill at least three men. The former bodyguard, Issaas Valdez Rios, said that he saw Guzman beating two people into a rival gang until they became “just like a worn-out doll,” then shot them in the head and ordered their bodies to be thrown into the fire. In another incident, a member of the Arilano Felix gang was burned and imprisoned before being taken to a cemetery and shot and buried alive.

The Mexican Drug War is an ongoing asymmetric low-intensity conflict between the Mexican government and various drug trafficking syndicates. In 2006 when the Mexican military began to intervene, the government’s principal goal was to reduce drug-related violence. The Mexican government has asserted that their primary focus is on dismantling the powerful drug cartels, rather than on preventing drug trafficking and demand, which is left to U.S. functionaries.

Guzman is also alleged to have killed his cousin for lying about leaving the city, and ordered to killing of the  brother of another leader in the gang because he did not shake hands with him.

The court heard details of his escape from Mexico’s high-security Altiplano prison in 2015, how his sons bought a property close to the prison and set up a GPS-equipped watch for two diggers after he was smuggled into the prison. Guzman escaped by taking a small motorbike with a special design through the tunnel.

He also used a program on his phone to spy on his wife and mistresses, which allowed the FBI to provide text messages in court. He told his wife in a letter how he escaped from a villa during a raid by US and Mexican officers before asking her to bring him new clothes, shoes and a black mustache.

Guzman is Mexico’s biggest drug dealer to face trial in the United States. The drug war in Mexico has put Mexican and US authorities in a confrontation with gangs that smuggle drugs into the United States as well as gangs against each other. It has also killed nearly 100,000 people in more than a decade.

Guzman had a bad reputation for being twice in prison in Mexico, as well as for his arrest on several other occasions. The US indictment against him included the collection of charges from six federal jurisdictions across the country, including New York, Chicago, and Miami. Prosecutors collected the evidence they had obtained for more than a decade, including from international partners such as Mexico and Colombia, to build a comprehensive case.

Jury members were accompanied by armed crowds to and from the court in Brooklyn, after prosecutors said that Guzman has a history of intimidating witnesses and even ordering them to be killed.

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Doris Mkwaya

I am a journalist, with more than 12 years of experience as a reporter, author, editor, and journalism lecturer." I've worked as a reporter, editor and journalism lecturer, and am very enthusiastic about bringing what I've learned to this site. 

 


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