The reign of Mexican drug kingpin El Chapo officially came to an end on Wednesday, after he was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years by a federal judge.
Back in February, “El Chapo,” whose real name is Joaquín Guzmán was convicted on 10 charges, including murder conspiracy and drug trafficking charges for his role as the ruthless leader of the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico. For Guzmán, one charge, in particular, continuing criminal enterprise, carried a mandatory life sentence.
According to NBC News, more than 200 tons of cocaine entered the United States under his command, and as part of his sentencing, he has been ordered to pay the government $12.6 billion of his earnings in the drug business.
Emotions reportedly ran high in the Brooklyn courtroom, as Guzmán received his fate. The 62-year-old, who communicated through a translator, boldly told the judge that he expected things to go differently, and he didn’t get his chance at a “fair trial.”
“Since the government of the United States is going to send me to a prison where my name will never be heard again, I take advantage of this opportunity to say there was no justice here,” Guzman said.
According to NBC News, he escaped from prisons in Mexico twice before being recaptured in 2016 and extradited to the U.S. Although it wasn’t specified in court, Guzmán will most likely be sent to a super maximum-security prison in Florence, Colorado, where he will spend most of his time in a cell with little to no interaction with other inmates.
After spending the past three months in court, the U.S. attorneys who prosecuted Guzmán shared that they feel like justice was finally served.
“Today brings a measure of justice for the American people. It brings a measure of justice for the country of Mexico, whose institution were corrupted for decades by the Sinaloa cartel,” said the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice Brian Bezczkowski. “If you pump hundreds of thousands of tons of cocaine and other drugs into our country, we will find you, we will extricate you, we will prosecute you, and we will bring you to justice.”
On the other hand, Guzmán’s attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman was far from pleased with the verdict as he is already planning to appeal the conviction.
“History will treat this verdict with skepticism,” Lichtman said. “This case was simply an inquisition. It was a show trial. With how it ended was absolutely perfect for that description.”
“I’m not here to tell you Joaquín Guzmán was a saint,” Lichtman said, as he accused the jury of misconduct. “All we asked for was a fair trial. If you don’t give a fair trial to Joaquín Guzmán, what happens to the guy off the street who is tried for tax evasion?”