Mexican drug lord Chapo Guzman convicted in US court
Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" (Shorty) Guzman is guarded by marines on Jan. 8, 2016, in Mexico City following his arrest in Los Mochis, a city in the northwestern state of Sinaloa. EPA-EFE FILE/Mario Guzman
A reproduction of a sketch by artist Jane Rosenberg showing Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" (Shorty) Guzman (2-L) waving to his wife, Emma Coronel (R), and defense attorneys Jeffrey Lichtman (L), William Purpura (C) and Eduardo Balarezo (2-R) after being convicted on 10 counts in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, New York, on Feb. 12, 2019. EFE/Jane Rosenberg
A reproduction of a sketch by artist Jane Rosenberg showing Emma Coronel (R), the wife of drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" (Shorty) Guzman (4-R), listening to the reading of the verdict in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, New York, on Feb. 12, 2019. EFE/Jane Rosenberg
New York, Feb 12 (efe-epa).- The jury hearing the US federal case against Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman found the defendant guilty Tuesday of the charge of running a criminal enterprise, which carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole.
The jury's foreman handed a sheet of paper containing the verdict to Federal District Judge Brian Cogan, who read it to those in the courtroom in Brooklyn, New York, after warning them to not show any reaction.
The judge said the jury found El Chapo (Shorty) guilty on all 10 counts he was facing in the 11-week trial.
The jury, whose members were granted anonymity to protect them from Guzman and his associates, failed to reach a unanimous verdict on only two counts related to cocaine trafficking in 2007 and marijuana trafficking in 2012.
Cogan will now have to determine the sentence to be imposed on the most powerful drug trafficker ever tried in the United States.
The 61-year-old leader of the Sinaloa cartel will be sentenced on June 25.
The most serious charge faced by Guzman was running a criminal enterprise, and the conviction on this charge could land the drug lord in federal prison for the rest of his life.
The trial took place under extremely tight security and was the only trial held on the 8th floor of the federal building.
Armed US Marshals and K-9 units were posted both inside and outside the courtroom.
The jury heard testimony from 56 witnesses, of whom 14 had reached agreements with federal prosecutors to provide evidence against Guzman.
The most important witness was Colombian drug lord Juan Carlos Ramirez Abadia, whose face was disfigured from undergoing plastic surgery to elude authorities and who spoke about murdering people without any emotion.
The cooperating witnesses, who are in prison in the US and expect a reduction in their sentences for working with the prosecution, were Guzman's associates and included Ramirez, Damaso Alonso, Jesss "El Rey" (The King) Zambada and his nephew, Vicentillo Zambada.
The jury reviewed the cooperating witnesses' testimony during the first four days of deliberations.
Ramirez, known as "Chupeta" (Lollipop), said that during his time as leader of Colombia's North Valley cartel he shipped more than 400,000 tons of narcotics to the United States, the majority working with the Sinaloa organization and using tunnels, speedboats, fishing boats and even cans of jalapeño peppers.
El Chapo was captured in Los Mochis, a city in the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa, in January 2016 and extradited to the United States on Jan. 19, 2017.
The Sinaloa cartel, sometimes referred to by Mexican officials as the Pacific cartel, is the oldest drug cartel in Mexico.
The Sinaloa organization, according to intelligence agencies, is a transnational business empire that operates in the United States, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the Americas and Asia.