"El Chapo" Found Guilty On 10 Counts In New York Trial

Guzman's wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, leaves Brooklyn federal court on January 17 after attending the trial.

Guzman leaned back in his chair Tuesday to catch the eye of his wife, who gave him a subtle thumbs-up, when the jury was discharged from a federal courthouse in Brooklyn.

The 61-year-old Guzman broke out of Mexican prisons twice before he was finally recaptured and extradited to the U.S.in 2017. The verdict comes following a wildly dramatic, three-month long trial in New York City that involved extreme measures to prevent El Chapo from escaping, such as his accommodations at a Manhattan prison supposedly being even more secure than a SuperMax. The jury, which took days to deliberate, was made up of four men and eight women who had their identities kept anonymous for their own protection.

Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman stared at the jury straight-faced as the judge read the guilty verdict.

NY jurors, whose identities were kept secret, deliberated for six days, sorting through piles of evidence gathered since the 1980s that Guzman's drug cartel smuggled tons of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana into the US. Guzman's lawyers did not deny his crimes as much as argue he was a fall guy for government witnesses who were more evil than he was.

Mexico has been mired for 12 years in a deadly military-led war against drug gangs.

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The most detailed evidence against Guzman came from more than a dozen former associates who struck deals to cooperate with United States prosecutors.

They heard how Guzman made a name for himself in the 1980s as "El Rapido", the speedy one, by building cross-border tunnels that allowed him to move cocaine from Mexico into the United States faster than anyone else.

Guzmán, once listed on Forbes' Billionaires List, has always been a slippery and near-mythical figure.

The most shocking allegation of corruption during the trial came from Guzman's former top aide Alex Cifuentes, who accused former Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto of taking a $US100 million bribe from Guzman. He escaped from a Mexican prison in 2001 in a laundry cart and again in 2015 through a tunnel. Another day, a Chapo-size actor who played the kingpin in the TV series "Narcos: Mexico" came to watch, telling reporters that seeing the defendant flash him a smile was "surreal".

Guzman listened to a drumbeat of guilty verdicts on drug and conspiracy charges 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 made him a folk hero in his native country.

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