Jury reaches verdict in El Chapo trial

Jury reaches verdict in El Chapo trial

A grand jury in New York City found Mexican drug cartel kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman guilty on all counts; setting the stage for a high-stakes sentencing hearing that could send the worldwide criminal to prison for the rest of his life.

The notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has been convicted of drug-trafficking charges at a trial in NY.

Guzman is believed to have led the cartel for decades, and faced a total of 17 charges, including including operating a continuing criminal enterprise conspiring to murder rivals and money laundering. The 66-year-old's wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, was among those in the courtroom on Tuesday to see his fate sealed.

Emma Coronel Aispuro, center, leaves Brooklyn federal court in NY, after attending the trial of her husband Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, on January 17, 2019.

He faces up to life in prison, and his sentencing date is June 25.

Jurors convicted Guzman on all 10 counts in an worldwide drug distribution trial that lasted more than three months.

NY police and others are on high alert outside and around the Manhattan courthouse, where authorities held an active-shooter drill Monday to prepare for the verdict.

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The cartel leader escaped prison twice in Mexico before being sent to the United States to stand trial.

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. Guzman smiled and waved, and she touched her hand to her chest.

Yet, jurors reportedly had an "avalanche" of evidence to work with before reaching their verdict.

Guzman's lawyers did not deny the defendant's charges but argued that he was the victim of government witnesses who were worse than he was. The jury, which took days to deliberate, was made up of four men and eight women who had their identities kept anonymous for their own protection.

A defense attorney for Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman says the notorious drug lord's conviction will be appealed.

One of the trial's most memorable pieces of evidence came from El Chapo's mistress Lucero Guadalupe Sanchez Lopez, who testified she was in bed in a safe house with an on-the-run Guzman in 2014 when Mexican marines started breaking down his door.

Through them, jurors heard how the Sinaloa Cartel gained power amid the shifting allegiances of the Mexican drug trade in the 1990s, eventually coming to control nearly the entire Pacific coast of Mexico.

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