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‘El Chapo’ Guzmán trial to begin under unprecedented security measures in New York City

13th November 2018

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Note: This post has been moved from Latest Picks due to length of extended updates.

‘El Chapo’ Guzman trial to begin under unprecedented security measures (cnn.com).

Joaqui´n “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera escorted by DEA agents after extradition from Mexico

Having been extradited to the US from Mexico almost two years ago (Latest Picks updated Jan. 2017) so as to not embarrassingly escape from another maximum security prison again.

His long-awaited trial before US District Court Judge Brian Cogan in Brooklyn federal court begins with opening statements under unprecedented security measures, including armed escorts for the anonymous and partly sequestered jurors.

With the Brookyn Bridge being shut down each time a police motorcade shuttles Guzmán to and from the courthouse and one female juror being excused and dismissed for quite understandably suffering much anxiety since selection and with his lawyer’s play being that he is being scapegoated and was more a figurehead and not the real controlling power in the Sinaloa cartel, Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada (Latina Pick of the Week 3rd Aug. 2014):

Lawyer calls El Chapo ‘scapegoat,’ says Mexico’s Pena Nieto took bribes (yahoo.com).

“He’s blamed for being the leader while the real leaders are living freely and openly in Mexico,” attorney Jeffrey Lichtman said on the first day of Guzman’s trial for drug smuggling in Brooklyn federal court. “In truth he controlled nothing. Mayo Zambada did.”

It is said that the trial could last four months with Guzmán facing life in prison for international drug trafficking, conspiring to murder rivals, gun charges and money laundering.

Updated 16th January 2019

With the presidential bribery allegation entered as testimony yesterday by Alex Cifuentes, a convicted drug trafficker who was part of a Colombian family drug cartel that developed deep ties to the Sinaloa cartel who, arrested in 2013, became a cooperating witness for the US about an alleged bribe to former Mexican President Felipe Calderón who launched Mexico’s divisive war on drugs that put soldiers on the street:

A witness testified that ‘El Chapo’ paid former Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto a $100 million bribe (buzzfeednews.com).

Court sketch of Alex Cifuentes testifying, image: Jane Rosenburg/Reuters
Court sketch of Alex Cifuentes testifying, image: Jane Rosenburg/Reuters

According to Cifuentes, Peña Nieto and Guzmán touched base sometime around 2012 after the election.

Cifuentes testified that Peña Nieto asked for $250 million, but that Guzmán eventually paid around $100 million so that he could come out of hiding.

Which didn’t quite go to plan of course with his capture by Mexican marines and federal police in 2016 after embarrassingly “escaping” by walking down a tunnel that had conveniently either been dug beneath his prison cell or had been put in a that particular cell because said tunnel with a motorbike on tracks to ferry him a mile away was already there bring stuff in to the lucrative prison market.

Updated 12th February 2019

And with the sequestered jury back after a sixth day of jury deliberations to give their verdict:

El Chapo, once the world’s most powerful drug trafficker, was convicted of all charges against him (buzzfeednews.com).

After deliberating for about six days, the jury found Guzmán guilty on all counts. The jury of eight women and four men heard 200 hours of testimony during the monthslong trial.

With sentencing still to come in June with Guzmán facing and indeed most expecting a life sentence, and yesterday emerging more sordid and less pop culture glamorised details of the “cocaine” kingpin—the successor of whom is more meth maestro these days in response to changing drug-consumption habits in the US (businessinsider.com, Oct. 2016):

El Chapo ‘drugged and raped teen girls’ and called them his ‘vitamins’ (dailystar.co.uk).

The infamous Mexican drug lord, 61, allegedly paid $5,000 (£3,800) a time to have the teen victims jetted to his secret hideouts via a trafficker dubbed “Commadre Maria”.

With court documents opened originally sealed and ruled “unrelated” to the drugs charges in which Colombian drug trafficker Alex Cifuentes again states that he handpicking the girls from photos sent by “Commadre Maria” who ran a “modelling agency” believing they “gave him energy”, but with Chapo’s legal team branding them “extremely salacious” and perhaps still raising an eyebrow with Cifuentes seemingly claiming El Chapo ordered him to spike the girls’ drinks with “powdery substances” while he spent a year living and working for him but then while admitting to having sex with the girls then denying drugging them, at least according to the Mirror’s phrasing.

Updated 17th July 2019

El Chapo: Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman sentenced to life in prison (news.sky.com).

Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is likely to die in jail after being sentenced to life plus 30 years for smuggling drugs into the US over a violent, decades-long career.

Jurors found the 62-year-old guilty of drug trafficking, money laundering and the use of firearms in February after an 11-week trial.

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