Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the notorious drug lord who twice escaped from Mexican prisons, will spend the rest of his in US prison
Guzman, 62, was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years
Per the ruling, Joaquin Guzman, aka El Chapo, will forfeit $12.6 BILLION to the US government
At the dramatic finale to his trial, He broke his silence to complain about ‘torturous’ conditions in jail and thanked his beauty queen wife for standing by him
Guzman, boss of the Sinoloa Cartel was convicted in February of a slew of drug trafficking charges
He denied them all, claiming he was being framed by the Mexican cartel
On Wednesday, he spoke for the first time throughout the trial to thank his wife and his legal team for their support
His wife will not be allowed to visit him behind bars and Wednesday was likely the last time they will ever see each other
María Consuelo Loera Pérez, his mother, was denied a humanitarian visa by the US government so could not attend the hearing
He also complained about the ‘torturous’ conditions in the prison where he has been since January 2017
Guzman who famously twice broke out ed Mexican prison before being extradited to the US, will now be sent to a supermax prison to live out his days
A court sketch shows El Chapo, with his mustache regrown, reading a statement that was then translated on Wednesday before being sentenced to life in prison
The 62-year-old broke his silence to make a statement, his first throughout his months-long legal battle.
Speaking through a translator, he complained that he was ‘tortured 24 hours-a-day’ in his solitary confinement cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, where he has been since January 2017.
He also complained that he was denied a fair trial, that the judge failed to investigate claims of prosecutorial misconduct and said the United States is ‘no better than any corrupt country’.
Guzman, wearing a gray suit, purple tie and purple shirt, began by blowing a kiss to his wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, and thanked her and his legal team for their support.
He had grown his mustache back for the hearing which was surrounded by armed guards and caused such a media scrum that journalists slept outside the courthouse to ensure they got a spot.
The only other relatives who attended the hearing were his cancer-stricken oldest daughter, Rosa Isela Guzmán, and his niece, Daniella.
His mother was denied a humanitarian entry visa to attend her son’s sentencing
Love from the inside: Guzman waved and blew a kiss to his wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, as he entered the courtroom
Guzman’s 30-year-old wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, watched from the packed gallery. It was likely the last time they will ever see each other since she has been banned from visiting him.
The drug lord complained that he has not been allowed contact with his wife, a strict condition that has been imposed since before the trial began and will remain in place.
Witnesses during the trial said she helped him escape Mexican prison in 2015 by acting as a liaison between him and his associates.
She was also accused of smuggling a cell phone into court during the trial to communicate with him.
The drug lord’s statement did little to sway U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan who said the ‘overwhelming evil’ in the case was ‘so severe’ that he should be punished to the full extent of the law.
He was jailed for life on drug trafficking offenses and given an additional 30 for firearms offenses. His attorneys have already vowed to appeal.
During the hearing, a woman who survived a hit that he ordered spoke to try to seal his fate.
She said: ‘I am a miracle of God, because Mr. Guzman tried to kill me.
‘I paid a high price — I lost my family, my friends, I became a shadow without a name.
‘I had everything and I lost everything, even my identity.’
In his statement, read by a translator, he complained about the conditions in the Manhattan facility where he awaited trial and about the rules imposed on him.
‘I’ve been forced to drink unsanitary water. I’ve been denied access to fresh air and sunlight. The only sunlight I have in my cell comes through in the air vent.
Businesslike: Wife and lawyers arrive ahead of ‘El Chapo’ sentencing: Dressed in couture, Emma Coronel Aispuro, was somber as she entered the courtroom for her husband’s sentencing
Hopeful: El Chapo’s wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, smiled as she arrived court with two bodyguards
Rueful: The 30-year-old was more somber before her husband was sentenced to life in prison
Heavy security for cartel wife as she arrives the chaotic courthouse grounds for El Chapo’s sentencing
‘In order to sleep, I have to clog my ears with toilet paper because of the air from the air duct.
‘My wife has not been allowed to this day to visit me, I have not been allowed to hug my daughters.
‘I have been physically, psychologically, mentally tortured 24 hours a day,’ he said.
He also complained that he was not given a fair trial and that he should never have been brought to the US.
‘I have been physically, psychologically, mentally tortured 24 hours a day
El Chapo, through a translator, at his sentencing hearing.
‘My case was stained and you denied me a fair trial when the whole world was watching.
‘When I was extradited to the United States, I expected to have a fair trial, but what happened was exactly the opposite,’ he said.
He did, however, reserve praise for the guards at the Metropolitan Correctional Facility who his lawyer said had treated him ‘humanely’.
He also wanted to thank the US Marshals who brought him to the trial and guarded him throughout.
After the hearing, El Chapo’s lawyers vowed to appeal the sentence.
‘All we ask for is a fair trial, I’m not here to say that the gentleman was a saint, we just want a fair trial,’ Jeffrey Lichtman, the head of his legal team, said.
Of the $12.6billion forfeiture, Lichtman said it was a sham.
‘It’s a fiction. It’s part of the show trial that we’re here for. They’ve been looking for his assets for how long, decades?’
El Chapo’s attorney Jeffrey Lichtman [photo], who claims his client did not receive a fair trial vowed to appeal the sentence
The fed team of prosecutors on the Guzman case stood outside after the overwhelming court victhe sentence as a victory
Federal prosecutors are demanding El Chapo pay back the US government $12.6 billion they say the notorious kingpin made from his international drug trafficking operation.
During his 25 years as the head of the Sinaloa Cartel, authorities claim the international criminal organization netted at least $11.8 billion in cocaine, $846 million in marijuana and $11 million in heroin that was sold across the United States.
‘The money was laundered and used to pay the cartel’s workers and suppliers, as well as used to purchase communications equipment and ‘planes, submarines and other vehicles,’ prosecutors said.
But one of his attorneys, Maribel Colón dismissed the government claims.
‘It’s insane to think that Guzman would have all that money.’
During his secret meeting with Hollywood star Sean Penn in 2015, El Chapo boasted about how easy it was to push his drug empire across the globe.
‘I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anyone in the world. I have a fleet of submarines, planes, trucks and boats,’ El Chapo said.
One of Guzman’s sons, Ivan Guzman’s posts to Instagram show a life of lavish means, including a jet. El Chapo boasted of owning a fleet of submarines, planes, boats and cars
[Photo], $1.5 million found during a raid of El Chapo’s home) – Prosecutors are looking to force El Chapo to pay back $12.6 billion that he made through drug sales in the United States
He was asked about the supermax prison where he is likely to be sent, El Chapo’s lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman said ‘You can bury Joaquin Guzman under tons of steel in Colorado, and make him disappear, but you’re never going to remove the stink from this verdict due to the failure to order a hearing on the misconduct of the jury in this case,’ he said.
Maribel Colón, another one of his lawyers, told Univision that they planned to immediately appeal too.
“He has a lot of hope for his appeal process. He is a person who I respect a lot. I breaks my heart to see the injustice that was done,” she said.
On the federal side prosecutors heralded it as a triumph of justice. “Guzman Loera’s day of reckoning has finally come. Never again will he pour poison into our country, or make millions as innocent lives are lost.
“We cannot undo the violence, misery and devastation inflicted on countless individuals and communities as result of his organization’s sale of tons of illegal drugs for more than two decades, but we can ensure that he spends every minute of every day in prison,” said Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
“The long road that brought ‘El Chapo’ Guzman Loera to a United States courtroom is lined with drugs, death, and destruction, but ends today with justice,” added Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski.
Aispuro said nothing as she entered the courtroom ahead of the hearing. She’d stood by her husband throughout the trial, even as his former girlfriends testified against him.
How much money El Chapo still has and where it is remains unclear and almost impossible to pin down.
The scene outside the courthouse On Wednesday was chaotic with hundreds of journalists trying to gain access. Some camped outside overnight to ensure they were given access o the courtroom
When he was extradited to the US, the government sought $14billion from the drug dealer. They have never dissected where his money is or how much he actually has and it is near-enough impossible to pin down given his shadowy operations.
El Chapo has several adult sons including some who are thought to work for him.
Reports indicate that he has 13 children in total. One of his sons died in 2010. Experts predict that his wealth, which is undoubtedly in the billions, is controlled by his children.
What Aispuro will receive is unclear. She was reprimanded at one stage for using a cell phone in the courthouse and was accused or prosecutors of breaking her no-contact rule with her husband.
El Chapo’s lawyer told CNN ahead of Wednesday’s sentencing hearing: ‘This will be the last time the public will see El Chapo.
‘It could be potentially also the last time El Chapo could see his wife.’
The drug lord’s legal team is working on putting together an appeal.
In February, Guzman was convicted after a lengthy, public fiasco of a trial which at times closed down the Brooklyn Bridge in order for him to be transported to the courthouse.
The evidence showed that under Guzman’s orders, the Sinaloa cartel was responsible for smuggling mountains of cocaine and other drugs into the United States during his 25-year reign, prosecutors said in court papers re-capping the trial. They also said his ‘army of sicarios’ was under orders to kidnap, torture and murder anyone who got in his way.
In this courtroom sketch from February, Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman was convicted on all ten counts in his drug trafficking trial
The defense argued he was framed by other traffickers who became government witnesses so they could get breaks in their own cases.
Guzman has been largely cut off from the outside world since his extradition in 2017. Wary of his history of escaping from Mexican prisons, U.S. authorities have kept him in solitary confinement at a Manhattan jail and under close guard at his appearances at the Brooklyn courthouse where his case unfolded.
While the trial was dominated by Guzman’s persona as a near-mythical outlaw who carried a diamond-encrusted handgun and stayed one step ahead of the law, the jury never heard from Guzman himself, except when he told the judge he wouldn’t testify.
But evidence at Guzman’s trial suggested his decision to stay quiet at the defense table was against his nature: Cooperating witnesses told jurors he was a fan of his own rags-to-riches narco story, always eager to find an author or screenwriter to tell it.
There also were reports he was itching to testify in his own defense until his attorneys talked him out of it, making his sentencing a last chance to seize the spotlight.