News 12 February 2019

Drug Lord El Chapo Found Guilty On All Counts

12 February 2019

El Chapo has been found guilty in a US court and will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.

The notorious Mexican born drug kingpin was once described as the “most powerful drug trafficker in the world” and has been included on Forbes magazine’s list of the most powerful people in the world on several occasions. The American government once described El Chapo as “the most ruthless, dangerous, and feared man on the planet”.

Born Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera, El Chapo began his trial in early November of last year and it has been predicted that he will serve a life sentence in the infamous Supermax prison; a maximum security facility in Colorado which houses some of the most violent and dangerous inmates in the world. On El Chapo’s pending sentence, the Department of Justice said the Mexican figure will likely receive, “a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole for leading a continuing criminal enterprise, and a sentence of up to life imprisonment on the seven remaining drug counts.”

The jurors in this trial were anonymous and were escorted to and from the court by armed officials. This comes after a long history of jurors, lawyers, police officers and witnesses involved in the trials of Guzmán being killed or intimidated.

It is believed that El Chapo began his criminal career in the 1970s as a member of the Mexican crime family, the Guadalajara Cartel, who specialised in transporting drugs into the US through the Mexican border. Guzmán quickly progressed up the cartel’s hierarchy due to his violent methods and business-oriented approach to his work.

At his peak, El Chapo became the 10th richest man in Mexico and in 2009, he made Forbes’ list of the world’s richest men. El Chapo ranked at number 701 with an estimated net worth of close to $1 billion.

El Chapo was first arrested in 1993 in Mexico and was later extradited to the United States to face trial and punishment for crimes he committed in the country. Along with the aid of a prison guard, El Chapo escaped from prison in 2001. Guzmán allegedly used bribery, violence and intimidation to force most of the staff in the prison to become complicit in his escape plan. He then spent the next 13 years on the run before being captured again in 2014.

The Mexican born figure then achieved global notoriety for escaping prison for the second time in 2015. El Chapo was then again taken into custody in 2016.

During the course of this trial, the court heard evidence and testimony on El Chapo’s plans to self direct a movie based on his life, his alleged sexual assault of underage girls and the alleged ordered assassination of his cousin who defied his orders to work.