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EL CHAPO’S FATE

After months of trial, the future of Mexico’s most-wanted, accused of being the world’s biggest drug trafficker, lies in the hands of 12 Americans.

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WHAT EACH SIDE SAYS

  • Prosecution: “Overwhelming” evidence that for 25 years, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán ran a global narcotics empire ruled by violence & corruption.
  • Defense: Former cartel members who testified were lying to get leniency for their own crimes. Points to Mayo Zambada – not Guzmán – as the Sinaloa cartel’s true leader.
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WHO WAS THERE?

  • Only 50 seats in Brooklyn courtroom, largely reserved for media. For a spot, many would line up at 2:30AM – even in freezing temps.
  • Guzmán’s wife rarely missed a day, even once coordinating outfits with him while his mistress testified.
  • Netflix’s “Narcos” actor who plays El Chapo came to watch.
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THE TRIAL

  • For 11 weeks, prosecution called 56 witnesses, including testimony of an IT tech who set up a spying system for Guzmán, then gave it to the FBI.
  • Defense’s case lasted 30 minutes, calling one, FBI agent witness to highlight discrepancies in witnesses’ testimony.
  • Guzmán declined to testify.
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TALES JURORS HEARD:

  • Submarines smuggling cocaine from Colombia to Mexico, into the U.S. in trains & tractor trailers
  • Gruesome murders
  • $1M/month for gov’t bribes, incl. $100M for Mexico’s president
  • Using cell microphones to spy on lovers & accused cartel members
  • Cocaine smuggled in cans of peppers
  • His diamond-encrusted pistol
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“You can’t lop off its head. The decentralization makes it hard to track down, capture and arrest all of the tentacles, and there’s lots of money flowing through the organization.”

Bruce M. Bagley, University of Miami professor who researches drug cartels, on why Mexico's Sinaloa cartel is still going strong despite Guzmán's U.S. trial.
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Federal jury, consisting of 7 women & 5 men, will weigh in on 10 criminal counts. The top charge is engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, if found guilty, Guzmán (61), who's been in custody since 2016 after being extradited from Mexico, may be sentenced to life in prison.

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