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Drug kingpin El Chapo sentenced to life in prison

Updated: Aug 8, 2019

The Mexican drug lord known as “El Chapo” was sentenced to life in prison plus thirty years on Wednesday at a hearing where he accused the U.S. government of corruption and subjecting him to inhumane treatment during his confinement.

El Chapo, whose real name is Joaquin Guzman Loera, was also ordered to forfeit $12.6 billion during the sentencing hearing in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, New York. A judge will determine restitution later.

“Since the government will send me to a jail where my name will not ever be heard again, I take this opportunity to say: There was no justice here,” he said, according to the New York Daily News.

The defense indicated that they planned to appeal, alleging juror misconduct, according to Vice News, which was at the hearing. A juror told the outlet in February that jurors violated the judge’s orders to avoid following the case in the media.

The kingpin was convicted earlier this year of presiding over a vast criminal operation that funneled immense quantities of narcotics, including heroin and methamphetamine, into the United States. 

El Chapo did not testify during the three-month trial, but broke that silence during Wednesday’s hearing.

El Chapo earned billions of dollars while serving as the head of the Sinaloa Cartel, dubbed by government researchers the “the most powerful drug trafficking syndicate in the Western Hemisphere.”

And he became a legend for his evasion of authorities. El Chapo twice escaped maximum security prisons in Mexico, including once through a mile-long tunnel. That reputation means El Chapo is likely to serve his time in the U.S. prison known as ADX Florence, located in Colorado. It is the highest-security federal prison in the country.

The Sinaloa Cartel remains a dominant drug trafficking organization in Mexico and maintains distribution hubs in Phoenix, Los Angeles, Denver, and Chicago, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.


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