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.
‘This is how he gets us killed’: American Jews and allies horrified after Trump blurts out anti-Semitic trope
President Donald Trump blurted out another anti-Semitic trope during his brief press availability Tuesday in the Oval Office.
Trump has been having a kind of holy war with Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), two of just three Muslim officials in Congress. When speaking to the press Tuesday, he claimed that Jews have no business supporting Democrats because they're anti-Semitic. But then he took it a step further.
After getting caught having sex with former congregants, Franklin Graham’s nephew launches new church based on ‘redemption’
Tullian Tchividjian insists that when he had extra-marital affairs with congregants at his former church, they were "consensual" and not an abuse of power. Nevertheless, he's getting a second shot with the upcoming launch of his new church in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, The Christian Post reports.
“I don’t care what role a person has, a consensual relationship between two adults is not abuse. And some of these people will try to make the case that, ‘Well, because you’re in a position of authority, it is abuse,’” Tchividjian, who is the nephew of evangelical figurehead Franklin Graham and the grandson of famed evangelist Billy Graham, told the Palm Beach Post this weekend. “And I’ll go, ‘OK I can see how that has been and can be used by people in those positions.’ ... [But] that just was not true for me. I was not abusing my authoritative role to try and find women.”
Conservative columnist blasts GOP as ‘partisan hacks for whom hypocrisy is second-nature’
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump once again ripped into The Squad, this time to undercut an emotional press conference in which Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MN) described the conditions her Palestinian relatives live under.
“Sorry, I don’t buy Rep. Tlaib’s tears. I have watched her violence, craziness and, most importantly, WORDS, for far too long,” the president tweeted. “Now tears? She hates Israel and all Jewish people. She is an anti-Semite. She and her 3 friends are the new face of the Democrat Party. Live with it!”
Sorry, I don’t buy Rep. Tlaib’s tears. I have watched her violence, craziness and, most importantly, WORDS, for far too long. Now tears? She hates Israel and all Jewish people. She is an anti-Semite. She and her 3 friends are the new face of the Democrat Party. Live with it!