After a run as one of the world’s most powerful and notorious criminals, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is expected to be sentenced to life in prison when he appears in a New York courtroom on Wednesday.
Guzman, the 62-year-old former leader of the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel, was convicted in February of crimes spanning a quarter of a century, including trafficking hundreds of tons of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines and marijuana to the United States.
The charges, which also include money laundering and weapons-related offenses, carry a mandatory life sentence.
Last week, prosecutors asked US federal judge Brian Cogan to tack on a symbolic extra 30 years in prison for the use of firearms in his business, portraying Guzman as “ruthless and bloodthirsty.”
They also want Guzman to turn over $12.7 billion, based on a conservative estimate of revenues from his cartel’s drug sales in the United States. So far, US authorities have not recovered a dime.
Guzman is considered to be the most powerful drug lord since Colombia’s Pablo Escobar, killed in a police shootout in 1993.
“El Chapo” (“Shorty”) was the co-leader of the still-powerful Sinaloa organization.
During the three-month trial in New York, jurors heard evidence of Guzman’s misdeeds. Witnesses described the cartel boss beating, shooting and even burying alive those who got in his way, including informants and rival gang members.
At least one of Guzman’s victims — a woman who prosecutors say survived a hit ordered by the kingpin — will speak at Wednesday’s sentencing hearing.
– ‘Alcatraz of the Rockies’ –
Guzman launched his career working in the cannabis fields of his home state of Sinaloa. Now, he is likely to spend the rest of his days at the “Alcatraz of the Rockies” — the supermax federal prison in Florence, Colorado.
Current inmates include convicted “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols, the British “shoe bomber” Richard Reid and the Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is awaiting execution.
Since his extradition from Mexico in 2017, Guzman has been held in solitary confinement at a high-security prison in Lower Manhattan.
He has repeatedly complained about the conditions of his detention via his attorneys — notably that his windowless cell is constantly lit.
On Wednesday, Guzman — who famously escaped Mexican prisons in 2001 and again in 2015 — could see his wife Emma Coronel and their two daughters for the last time.
“The government’s request of life plus 30 years is a farce,” said Guzman’s attorney Eduardo Balarezo. “Joaquin’s conviction and incarceration for drug trafficking will change nothing in the so-called war on drugs.”
New York’s special narcotics prosecutor Bridget Brennan acknowledged that taking El Chapo out of the equation did not diminish the Sinaloa cartel’s influence.
“We believe that’s the one that supplies most of the drugs coming into the US,” she told AFP.
New testimony adds 2 stunning — and previously unknown — details about the Ukraine extortion
New testimony released Monday from the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of the Ukraine scandal included at least two new stunning details about the quid pro quo scheme at the heart of the matter.
Overall, the transcripts for depositions of Catherine Croft and Christopher Anderson, who were advisers to U.S. envoy Kurt Volker, built on the story of that we already know: that President Donald Trump pushed a shadow foreign policy to pressure Ukraine into investigating his political opponents, a scheme that involved using his office and military aid as leverage over the country in opposition to the official policy.
Trump blasted for his ‘Endorsement of Doom’ after Sean Spicer loses on ‘Dancing with the Stars’
Team Trump had gone all in urging supporters to vote for former White House press secretary Sean Spicer on the game show "Dancing with the Stars."
Votes had been urged by RNC officials and Trump himself had urged his 66 million Twitter followers to vote for Spicer.
Despite the full heft of the Trump campaign, Spicer lost on Monday's show.
Trump deleted his failed tweet urging votes for Spicer -- and instead said it was a "great try" by his former advisor.
Looks like this endorsement was as successful as your last one!
‘He’s misunderstood’: Nikki Haley tells Fox News how Trump is actually a really good listener
Former Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley defended President Donald Trump during a Monday appearance with Fox News personality Sean Hannity.
Hannity asked the former South Carolina governor if Trump was "misunderstood."
"I do think he’s misunderstood," Haley replied.
"I can tell you, from the first day to the last day that I worked for the president, he always listened, he was always conscious of hearing other voices, allowing people to debate out the issues, and then he made his decision," Haley claimed.
She argued that, "I saw a president that was very thoughtful, looked at all of the issues, made decisions, and it was a pleasure and honor to work with him."