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El Chapo Found Guilty on All Counts; Faces Life in Prison



Not long after the jury had the case on February 4, Matthew Whitaker, the US attorney general, entered the courtroom and shook hands with each of the prosecutors, wishing him good luck. In the following days, the jurors, who seemed to scrutinize the evidence of the government, asked to receive thousands of pages of testimonies, including – in an unusual move – the full testimonies of six different witnesses to the prosecution.

Mr. The Guzmán trial, which took place under intense media checks and close security by dogs sniffing bombs, police snipers and federal marshals with radiation sensors, was the first time an American jury listened to details about the funding, logistics and the bloody history of one of the drug cartels that have long pumped huge amounts of heroin, cocaine, marijuana and synthetic drugs like fentanyl in the United States, earning billions of dollars to traffickers.

But despite numerous testimonies on private jets full of money, bodies burned in bonfires and shocking evidence that Mr. Guzmán and his men often drugged and raped girls, the case also revealed the operatic, even absurd, nature of culture of the cartel. It contained reports of traffickers practicing the target with a bazooka, a mariachi playing the night away from a prison cell, and a plot of murder involving an ispa tied to cyanide.

Sometimes the process was so bizarre that it looked like a world of soap opera that takes place live in the classroom. Last month, one of Mr. Guzmán's bosses proclaimed crying his love for him even as he testified against him. The next day, in what looked like a coordinated show of solidarity, the boss and his wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, appeared in court by matching smoking jackets of red velvet.

Towards the end of the proceedings, Alejandro Edda, an actor who plays El Chapo in the Netflix series "Narcos: Mexico", presented at the trial to study Mr. Guzmán. The crime lord showed an ecstatic smile when he said that Edda had come to see him.

Although Monday's condemnation struck a blow to the Sinaloa drug cartel, which Guzmán, 61, helped manage for decades, the group continues to operate, led in part by the boss's sons. In 2016 and 2017, in the years when Guzmán was arrested for the last time and sent to pursue in New York, the production of Mexican heroin has increased by 37% and the seizure of fentanyl at the south-western border is more which doubled, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The DEA, in its most recent assessment of drug trafficking, noted that the organization of Guzmán and a rising power, the Jalisco New Generation cartel, "remain the biggest criminal drug threat" to the United States.


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