El Chapo verdict: Jurors find Mexican drug lord, cartel leader Joaquin Guzman guilty on all counts

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What You Need to Know: El Chapo

Just over a week after it was given the case, a federal jury in New York found Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman guilty of several criminal charges, according to multiple reports.

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Guzman, 61, was found guilty of all 10 charges levied at him by prosecutors, including engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, conspiracy to launder narcotics proceeds and international distribution of drugs.

Update 12:55 p.m. EST Feb. 12: The verdict handed down Tuesday almost guarantees that Guzman, who famously escaped from a pair of Mexican prions, will spend the rest of his life behind bars in the U.S., the Los Angeles Times reported.

In court, Guzman appeared stunned as the verdict was read, according to The New York Times.

The newspaper reported Guzman is scheduled to be sentenced June 25.

Jurors deliberated for six days before finding Guzman guilty in the case. Jurors were tasked with sorting through what authorities called an “avalanche” of evidence gathered since the late 1980s that Guzman and his murderous Sinaloa drug cartel made billions in profits by smuggling tons of cocaine, heroin, meth and marijuana into the U.S.

Update 12:49 p.m. EST Feb. 12: Jurors found Guzman guilty on all counts, The New York Times reported.

Update 12:15 p.m. EST Feb. 12: The verdict came eight days after jurors were ordered to begin deliberations, according to multiple reports.

The New York Times reported around 12 p.m. Tuesday that jurors reached a verdict, although their decision was not immediately announced.

Original report: A federal jury in New York will deliberate the case against Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman for a second day Tuesday after ending its first day of deliberations without reaching a verdict.

Jurors in the Eastern District of New York heard testimony over the course of 11 weeks that described a multinational, drug-smuggling enterprise that allegedly netted Guzman billions of dollars, according to multiple reports. Prosecutors say he is responsible for smuggling at least 200 tons of cocaine into the United States and for a wave of killings in turf wars with other cartels.

“He used trains, and he dug tunnels, and he used ships and planes,” NPR reported. “There were submarines full of cocaine and cash going back and forth between Mexico and South America and the United States.”

Guzman, 61, is facing 10 charges, including engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, conspiracy to launder narcotics proceeds and international distribution of drugs. If convicted, he could face life in prison.

Guzman has pleaded not guilty. His attorney argued that his role in the infamous Sinaloa cartel has been exaggerated and that Guzman was not the true leader of the criminal enterprise. He claimed it was instead headed by Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, an associate of Guzman’s who is now in his 70s, according to CNN.

“We don’t have to prove that the defendant was the ultimate leader,” federal prosecutor Amanda Liskamm said in court, according to CNN. “We don’t even have to prove that he was one of the top leaders. … Even under (the theory of Zambada as true kingpin) the defendant is still a boss. He’s guilty.”

Bruce Bagley, a University of Mimi expert on Mexico’s cartels, told CNN that Guzman’s capture and even his possible conviction are unlikely to make any impact on the power of the Sinaloa cartel.

“The bottom line is there are a lot of other people waiting in the wings,” Bagley told the news network. “The jockeying has already begun.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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El Chapo trial: Jurors to begin second day of deliberations

Elizabeth Williams/AP
In this courtroom sketch, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, right, is seated at the defense table with his interpreter, in the U.S. trial of the infamous Mexican drug lord, in New York, Monday Feb. 4, 2019. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

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