Start United States Last chapter opened for „El Chapo“

Last chapter opened for „El Chapo“


He was one of Mexico’s most notorious drug lords: Joaquin „El Chapo“ Guzman. He has escaped spectacularly twice from prison since his extradition to the US in 2017. He is now in solitary confinement in New York, where he is now being tried. It could be the last chapter in this drama .
61-year-old Guzman, known as „El Chapo“ („The Short“) because of his small body, has been waiting for two years in the maximum security prison in New York. He spends 24 hours a day in his 15 square meter, windowless cell. There are only exceptions during the week when he is allowed to use a treadmill and a bicycle trainer for one hour each day.

He is only allowed to receive a visit from his three lawyers and two daughters. The seven-year-old twins are separated from him by a thick glass pane. His wife, 29-year-old former beauty queen Emma Coronel, is not allowed to visit him. However, she followed all hearings before the trial began and threw kisses to her husband from the auditorium.

As of Monday, Guzman is standing trial in Brooklyn, Eastern New York, under the chairmanship of Judge Brian Cogan. A dozen prosecutors are involved in the case. If convicted, Guzman faces life imprisonment in a high security prison. The death penalty, which is still legal under federal law in the United States, is ruled out, as had been agreed by Mexico and the United States upon delivery.

For years, the prosecution has collected documents for the prosecution of Guzman. Eleven charges are charged with him. The Mexican Sinaloa cartel as the „largest drug smuggling organization in the world“ had smuggled under his leadership from 1989 to 2014 a total of 154,626 kilograms of cocaine in the US, also heroin, crystal meth and marijuana, according to the indictment.
This Guzman should have earned $ 14 billion (12.3 billion euros). He even made it to the „Forbes“ list of the richest people in the world. In addition, Guzman has to answer for arms trafficking and money laundering. As head of the Sinaloa cartel, he was alleged to have murdered, assaulted and abducted hundreds of people.

Guzman pleads not guilty. But the US judiciary has collected incriminating material, which now includes more than 300,000 pages and at least 117,000 audio recordings. For the review of this material, the defenders of the powerful drug boss repeatedly demanded more time and achieved that the process is postponed.

The four-month mammoth procedure takes place behind closed doors. The twelve jurors and their six substitute candidates are selected under the highest security standards – as is the case only in trials against the most dangerous defendants. The jury will remain completely shielded by the press and the public and will be escorted to the court each day by security guards. Their names and faces should remain secret.
Guzman’s former business partners, former stooges and rivals who are informants and witnesses to the trial, are also under protection. Many have already started a new life as part of the witness protection program with a new identity. Detained informants are housed in special wings to protect them from reprisals. The process depends to a very high degree on their statements. Because no one has photos of how Guzman cocaine slipped into the US and for „suitcases with money“ have received, said the lawyer Rob Heroy, who has already represented several Mexican drug lords in court.

The lawyer estimates that the process will cost taxpayers „more than $ 50 million“ (€ 44 million) because of the high security and protection programs for the 16 witnesses. Probably the process goes down as the most expensive in US history. However, drug trafficking to the US will not be stopped by the process.

Guzman was born in 1957 in the village of La Tuna de Badiraguato in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. The son of a poor family sold oranges as a teenager before joining the drug gang around Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo in the 1980s. After the arrest of the boss he founded the Sinaloa cartel. The US Anti-Drug Administration (DEA) describes the syndicate as a multinational corporation of organized crime.

In 1993 Guzman was arrested in Guatemala, but in 2001 he managed to escape from a high security prison in Mexico. Marines re-arrested El Chapo in an apartment in the coastal town of Mazatlan in the west of the country in 2014. He spent just 17 months in prison, then escaped in July 2015 through a 1.5-kilometer tunnel into freedom. In January 2016 Guzman was recaptured and one year later delivered to the USA.