Joaquín Guzmán Loera (El Chapo) was convicted on Tuesday of all 10 counts against him and faces a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment.
Guzmán Loera was extradited to the US from Mexico in January 2017, and his trial began last November in the Eastern District of New York before Judge Brian Cogan. The US Attorney’s offices for the Eastern District of New York and the Southern District of Florida collaborated with the US Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section to bring the government’s case. Together, the prosecution brought 10 counts against Guzmán Loera related to drug-trafficking, including firearm and money laundering and engaging in criminal enterprise, which comprised 27 violations, including one conspiracy to commit murder.
The prosecution called more than 50 witnesses who testified regarding Guzmán Loera’s activities as head of Sinaloa Cartel, which remains one of the largest drug cartels in Mexico. Several of the testimonies included sensitive allegations involving the sexual assault of minors, leading the prosecution to request that these witnesses not be cross-examined. Guzmán Loera’s defense called one witness, and Guzmán Loera did not testify.
Guzmán Loera’s conviction has been lauded as a collaboration across multiple levels of US and Mexican law enforcement. EDNY US Attorney Richard Donoghue highlighted the moment’s significance:
Guzman Loera’s bloody reign atop the Sinaloa Cartel has come to an end, and the myth that he could not be brought to justice has been laid to rest. Today, Guzman Loera has been held accountable for the tons of illegal narcotics he trafficked for more than two decades, the murders he ordered and committed, and the billions of dollars he reaped while causing incalculable pain and suffering to those devastated by his drugs. Today’s verdict is the culmination of the tireless work of countless brave members of law enforcement, here and abroad, and we congratulate them. The Department of Justice is committed to eradicating criminal organizations that fuel America’s drug epidemic, and our mission will continue until it is completed.
Guzmán Loera will face a mandatory sentence of life in prison at his June 25 sentencing hearing. His lawyers intend to appeal.