After deliberating for approximately 34 hours over six days, a jury in Brooklyn found infamous Mexican drug cartel leader Joaquín Archivaldo "El Chapo" Guzmán Loera guilty on all 10 counts, according to the US Attorneys office for the Eastern District of New York.
The charges included engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, conspiracy to launder narcotics proceeds, international distribution of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and other drugs, and use of firearms.
Guzmán now faces life in prison.
Throughout the trial, jurors heard over 200 hours of testimony and boxes upon boxes of physical evidence, with 60 pages alone of jury instructions, CNN reports. Legal experts said the drawn-out deliberations may have only to do with the complicated nature of the federal case.
The 12-person jury, which is made up of eight women and four men, has remained anyonymous and partially sequestered.
The nearly three-month trial was based largely on witness testimony for the prosecution. One of the star witnesses was Guzmán's IT specialist, a Colombian named Christian Rodriguez who testified against the drug lord and provided federal authorities access to text messages and cell phone conversations Guzmán had with cartel associates, his paramours and his wife. Other testimony from the 55 other witnesses included grisly details about murders and tortures, violence that prosecutors say Guzmán carried out personally.
Court papers unsealed Friday after closing arguments had concluded included allegations that Guzmán raped girls as young as 13. An attorney representing Guzmán said he denied the allegations.
Guzmán gained notoriety around the globe for the reach of the Sinaloa Cartel, which prosecutors have called "the world's largest and most prolific drug trafficking organization" as well as for his own escapes from Mexican prisons.
His most recent prison escape in 2015 employed the use of a tunnel dug to his cell. Following that escape, he was hunted, arrested, and extradited back to the United States, where he faced federal charges in multiple locations.
John A. Horn, a former U.S. Attorney who prosecuted Mexican cartel cases said a guilty verdict in this case carries a deeper meaning than just a literal sentence.
"There does need to be a conviction of somebody like Chapo Guzmán, both for the symbolism and the pure factor of justice being served," Horn, said in an interview before the verdict, The Washington Post reports. "It does show that . . . for somebody at his level, justice will be done, it will be served. It's an incredibly powerful victory for DOJ, for law enforcement."0comments