‘GUILTY’ verdict for Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman

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In this Jan. 8, 2016 image released by Mexico’s federal government, Mexico’s most wanted drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, stands for his prison mug shot with the inmate number 3870 at the Altiplano maximum security federal prison in Almoloya, Mexico. (Mexico’s federal government via AP)

Notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was found guilty in U.S. trial that could put him behind bars for the rest of his life in a high-security prison.

Sentencing for the 61-year-old drug trafficker is scheduled for June. Guzman, 61, was charged with 10 criminal counts, including drug trafficking and engaging in a criminal enterprise as leader of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel.

CGTN’s Liling Tan reports.

The case had been investigated by the DEA, HSI and the FBI, in cooperation with Mexican, Ecuadorian, Netherlands, Dominican, and Colombian law enforcement authorities. Substantial assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in the Northern District of Illinois, the Western District of Texas, the Southern District of New York, the Southern District of California and the District of New Hampshire.

“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,” said U.S. Attorney Donoghue. “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.”

Guzman’s wife gave him a subtle thumbs-up after a judge in his U.S. drug trafficking trial read the guilty verdict, according to The Associated Press.

CGTN’s Nick Harper reported the breaking news earlier in the day.

CGTN’s Nick Harper reported “El Chapo’s” lawyer Jeff Lichtman calls him “gentleman”, “upbeat guy” despite conviction. Says he will appeal.

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A U.S. jury has reached a guilty verdict in the drug-trafficking trial of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who rose to fame as Mexico’s most feared drug kingpin, a court official said on Tuesday.

Guzman, 61, was charged with 10 criminal counts, including drug trafficking and engaging in a criminal enterprise as leader of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel.

The 12 jurors began deliberating in federal court in Brooklyn on Feb. 4. The lack of a verdict in the first week seemed to please Guzman, who grinned and hugged one of his lawyers before he was led out of the courtroom.

Guzman is accused of trafficking tons of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine into the United States as leader of the cartel, named for his home state in northwestern Mexico.

El Chapo (center) speaks to Judge Brian Cogan (right), as depicted in a courtroom sketch. (AP)

Guzman escaped twice from maximum-security Mexican prisons before his final capture in January 2016. He was extradited to the United States a year later. Small in stature, Guzman’s nickname means “Shorty.”

His defense has argued that Guzman was set up as a “fall guy” by Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, a drug kingpin from Sinaloa who remains at large. Prosecutors have said Guzman and Zambada were partners.

Soldiers escort drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman in Mexico City

FILE PHOTO: Soldiers escort drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman during a presentation to the media in Mexico City, Mexico January 8, 2016. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo/File Photo

More than 50 witnesses testified during the 11-week trial, including 14 former associates of Guzman who had agreed to cooperate with U.S. prosecutors.

The cooperators, most of whom had pleaded guilty to U.S. drug charges, offered detailed accounts of the Sinaloa Cartel’s inner workings and Guzman’s purported role as boss, describing his lavish lifestyle and penchant for murdering his enemies.

In a series of notes last week, the jury sought answers to legal questions and asked to review days of testimony from several of the cooperators. The notes suggested that the jury is poring over the voluminous evidence from the trial in detail.