Published: Wed, February 13, 2019
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

US Attorney Richard Donoghue said El Chapo has 'no escape'

US Attorney Richard Donoghue said El Chapo has 'no escape'

Guzman's wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, leaves Brooklyn federal court on January 17 after attending the trial.

Convicted by a jury of eight women and four men, he could face life in a US maximum-security federal prison.

The tension at times was cut by some of the trial's sideshows, such as the sight of Guzman and his wife showing up in matching burgundy velvet blazers in a gesture of solidarity. He was free at that point after a dramatic escape in which he tunneled out of a Mexican prison.

NY jurors, whose identities were kept secret, deliberated for six days, sorting through piles of evidence gathered since the 1980s that Guzman's drug cartel smuggled tons of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana into the US.

Small in stature, Guzman's nickname means "Shorty".

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And the notorious drug baron believed the youngest girls "gave him energy" according to a drug trafficker who testified against him.

Mexico has been mired for 12 years in a deadly military-led war against drug gangs. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador was elected past year after promising a change, suggesting a negotiated peace and amnesty for non-violent drug dealers, traffickers, and farmers.

The evidence included testimony from 14 cooperators.

Outside the court, U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue called it a "day of reckoning", promising the government would continue to root out cartel-related drug-running and corruption.

Guzman made a name for himself in the 1980s as "El Rapido", the speedy one, by building cross-border tunnels that allowed him to move cocaine from Mexico into the United States faster than anyone else.

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In the trial, which has lasted several months, prosecutors used more than 50 witnesses to detail Guzman's involvement in making billions of dollars distributing drugs in the U.S.

Estimates of how much money Guzman made from drugs vary. In 2009, Forbes Magazine put him on its list of the world's richest people, with an estimated $1 billion. It later dropped him from the list, saying it was too hard to quantify his assets.

Jeffrey Lichtman said outside a Brooklyn courthouse Tuesday the defense "fought like complete savages" at the USA drug-trafficking trial and will "continue to fight" for Guzman. A spokesman for the ex-president has denied the claim.

On Tuesday, Lichtman called the conviction "devastating", but he said he was proud that the defence "left it all on the battlefield". Another day, a Chapo-size actor who played the kingpin in the TV series "Narcos: Mexico" came to watch, telling reporters that seeing the defendant flash him a smile was "surreal".

Despite his ties to government officials, Guzman often lived on the run.

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This came after his second, short-lived escape from prison.

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