Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Found Guilty On All Counts

Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman centre

Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman centre

Though other high-ranking cartel figures had been extradited previously, Guzman was the first to go to trial instead of pleading guilty.

Joaqin Guzman, the notorious Mexican drug cartel boss known under nickname "El Chapo" is to face life in jail after a USA court found him guilty on all charges in a high-profile narcotics trial.

The trial testimony lasted almost three months and the jurors have were tasked with deciding on 10 separate counts.

Guzman faced a drumbeat of drug-trafficking and conspiracy convictions that could put the 61-year-old escape artist behind bars for decades in a maximum-security US prison selected to thwart another one of the breakouts that embarrassed his native country.

As the judge read the verdict, Guzman stared at the jury straight-faced. Once the jury left the room, he and his wife Emma Coronel, put their hands to their hearts and gave each other the thumbs up sign. He was free at that point after a dramatic escape in which he tunneled out of a Mexican prison. The notorious cartel boss, born Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera, has been on trial in NY, which featured testimony from multiple witnesses.

Guzman's lawyers did not deny the defendant's charges but argued that he was the victim of government witnesses who were worse than he was.

They were escorted to and from the fortress-like Brooklyn courthouse by US Marshals during each day of the 35 day trial, which saw 56 prosecution witnesses called to testify against El Chapo.

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The 61-year-old was a key player in the Mexican drug cartel landscape.

Recaptured drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is escorted by soldiers at the hangar belonging to the office of the Attorney General in Mexico City, Mexico, on January 8, 2016.

The US Justice Department said in 2017 it sought forfeiture of more than $14 billion in drug proceeds and illicit profits from Guzman. Colombian trafficker Alex Cifuentes caused a stir by testifying that former Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto took a $100-million bribe from Guzman.

While the trial was dominated by Guzman's persona as a near-mythical outlaw who carried a diamond-encrusted handgun and stayed one step ahead of the law, the jury never heard from Guzman himself, except when he told the judge he wouldn't testify.

He was seized again in 2014, but pulled off his best known escape the following year when he disappeared into a tunnel dug into his cell in a maximum security prison.

This came after his second, short-lived escape from prison.

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