Mexican drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison plus 30 years.
Guzman was convicted of 10 charges in February, including international distribution of drugs, use of firearms and engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise. The 61-year-old once led a vast and violent criminal network spanning multiple continents. Along with a life sentence, the court ordered Guzman to pay $12.6 billion in forfeiture. Restitution will be determined at a later time.
Before his sentencing, Guzman spoke in court and called the trial unfair through an English interpreter, CNN reported. He spoke about the anonymous juror who spoke to Vice Media about alleged juror misconduct and he complained about the conditions of his incarceration in New York, calling them “torture” and “the most inhumane situation” he has ever experienced.
“There was no justice here,” Guzman said. “You didn’t want to bring the jury back. You allege that the action of the jury was not important because there was a lot of evidence against me.” “Why did we go to trial?” Guzman added. “Why not sentence me the first day? The jury was not necessary then.”
Jeffrey Lichtman, one of Guzman’s attorneys, echoed his sentiments, saying the trial will “forever be a stain of injustice.” He added that the billions Guzman has been ordered to forfeit is “fiction” and “all part of the show trial.” However, Brian Benczkowski, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, told reporters Guzman’s sentencing was “a measure of justice” for the American people and Mexico.
Richard Donoghue, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said the sentencing is “significant and it is well deserved,” CNN reported. “It means that never again will Guzman pour poison over our borders, making billions, while innocent lives are lost to drug violence and drug addiction,” Donoghue said.
Although it has not been decided yet, Guzman’s attorneys believe he will spend the rest of his life at the United States Penitentiary Administrative-Maximum Facility in Florence, Colorado, also known as Supermax and ADX Florence. It is the same prison where Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Unabomber Ted Kaczynski are held.
Lichtman told CNN that “it’s absolutely impossible” to escape from. Guzman twice escaped from a prison in Mexico, once in a laundry cart and once through a tunnel dug into his cell.