Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the Mexican drug lord found guilty of running a murderous criminal enterprise that smuggled tons of drugs into the United States, was sentenced by a U.S. judge on Wednesday to spend the rest of his life in prison.
Guzman berated the U.S. justice system, and a former associate described how he had paid a gang $1 million to kill her before U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan imposed the mandatory sentence of life plus 30 years. Guzman was also ordered to forfeit $12.6 billion, prosecutors said, at a hearing in federal court in Brooklyn.
Guzman, 62, was found guilty by a jury in February of trafficking tons of cocaine, heroin and marijuana and engaging in multiple murder conspiracies as a top leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, long known as one of Mexico’s largest and most violent drug trafficking organizations.
Guzman, whose nickname means “Shorty,” developed a reputation as a Robin Hood-like figure that made him a folk hero to many in his home state of Sinaloa, where he was born in a poor mountain village.
He has been held in solitary confinement in the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a fortress-like jail in lower Manhattan.