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

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


Although Monday’s conviction dealt a blow to the Sinaloa drug cartel, which Mr. Guzmán, 61, helped to run for decades, the group continues to operate, led in part by the kingpin’s sons. In 2016 and 2017, the years when Mr. Guzmán was arrested for a final time and sent for prosecution to New York, Mexican heroin production increased by 37 percent and fentanyl seizures at the southwest border more than doubled, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The D.E.A., in its most recent assessment of the drug trade, noted that Mr. Guzmán’s organization and a rising power, the Jalisco New Generation cartel, “remain the greatest criminal drug threat” to the United States.

The Mexican authorities began pursuing the stocky crime lord — whose nickname translates roughly to “Shorty” — in 1993 when he was blamed for a killing that epitomized for many Mexicans the extreme violence of the country’s drug wars: the assassination of the Roman Catholic cardinal, Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo, at the Guadalajara airport.

Though Mr. Guzmán was convicted that same year on charges of murdering the cardinal, he escaped from prison in 2001 — in a laundry cart pushed by a jailhouse janitor — and spent the next decade either on the lam in one of his mountain hide-outs or slipping through various police and military dragnets.

In 2012, he evaded capture by the F.B.I. and the Mexican federal police by ducking out the back door of his oceanview mansion in Los Cabos into a patch of thorn bushes. Two years later, after he was recaptured in a hotel in Mazatlán by the D.E.A. and the Mexican marines, he escaped from prison again — this time, through a lighted, ventilated, mile-long tunnel dug into the shower of his cell.

But following his last arrest — after a gunfight in Los Mochis, Mexico in 2016 — Mr. Guzmán was extradited to Brooklyn, where federal prosecutors had initially indicted him in 2009. He also faced indictment in six other American judicial districts.

The top charge of the Brooklyn indictment named Mr. Guzmán as a principal leader of a “continuing criminal enterprise” to purchase drugs from suppliers in Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Mexico’s Golden Triangle — an area including the states of Sinaloa, Durango and Chihuahua where most of the country’s heroin and marijuana are produced.



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