Mexican drug lord ‘El Chapo’ gets life imprisonment

Mexican drug lord 'El Chapo' gets life imprisonment
Angel Melendez, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), makes a statement outside a federal court in New York City.

New York: Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the Mexican drug kingpin who minted millions as the head of the infamous Sinaloa cartel for several years, was awarded life imprisonment plus 30 years by a US court here on Wednesday (local time).

Judge Brian Cogan, of the Brooklyn court, ordered El Chapo to pay USD 12.6 billion in forfeiture.

Appearing before the court, Guzman complained about the conditions of his confinement and claimed that he was being denied a fair trial.

“It has been torture, the most inhumane situation I have lived in my entire life. It has been physical, emotional and mental torture. There was no justice here,” CNN quoted him as saying.

Mexican drug lord 'El Chapo' gets life imprisonment
File Photo: Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman

The additional 30 years of jail term have been given for illegal use of firearms.

Guzman, who has remained largely cut-off since his extradition to the US in 2017, is expected to serve his sentence in a “Supermax” prison in Florence, Colorado, where authorities will be on their toes to prevent another escape attempt by the 62-year-old drug lord.

In February, Guzman was found guilty on all 10 criminal counts against him by the court.

‘El Chapo’ (meaning shorty), who was once listed on Forbes’ list with an estimated worth of USD 1 billion, is accused of helping to export hundreds of tonnes of cocaine into the US and of conspiring to manufacture and distribute heroin, marijuana and other drugs.

Under Guzman, the Sinaloa cartel smuggled hundreds of tonnes of narcotics to wholesale distributors in Arizona, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and New York.

Considered as the most powerful drug smuggler in the world, Guzman was believed to have used hitmen to carry out murders, kidnappings and assaults on international political leaders and rivals.

He first escaped from a Mexican jail in 2001 in a laundry cart and repeated the same act again in 2015, this time through a tunnel. After a year on the run, the Mexican drug kingpin was recaptured.