CHANGES DECK, ADDS DETAILS THROUGHOUT
By Umar Farooq
WASHINGTON (AA) - Mexican cartel leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was found guilty Tuesday for crimes related to smuggling drugs into the U.S.
Guzman was found guilty in New York of 10 counts brought against him, including conspiracy to launder narcotics proceeds and smuggling hundreds of tons of cocaine into the U.S.
The three-month trial saw 56 witnesses testify, including Alex Cifuentes who said Guzman bribed ex-Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto with $100 million to call off a countrywide operation to capture him.
The evidence against Guzman included narcotics seizures of over 130,000 kilograms of cocaine and heroin, weapons such as AK-47 rifles and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, videos, photographs and intercepted recordings, according to the Justice Department.
Prosecutors outlined Guzman's drug trafficking activity spanning a 25-year period from 1989 to 2014.
"The conviction of former Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquin Guzman Loera strips the power from a man who employed horrific acts of violence to infect communities, throughout the United States and abroad, with the venom of illicit drugs," U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan said in a statement.
El Chapo, described by the U.S. government as the "world's most ruthless, dangerous and feared person," was first arrested near the Mexican-Guatemalan border in 1993 on drug charges.
He was given a 20-year sentence but managed to escape from the Puente Grande jail in 2001.
Guzman was captured a second time in February 2014, but again escaped five months later from the maximum security prison in Altiplano, near Mexico City.
He was finally caught in the northwestern state of Sinaloa, Mexico in January 2016, following a massive manhunt that lasted several months.
Guzman, 61, was extradited to Washington in 2017 following his arrest by Mexican authorities. He was then held in solitary confinement for two years.
He did not take the witness stand during the trial.
The verdict means Guzman is now facing life in prison. He will be sentenced June 25.