JOAQUIN “EL CHAPO’ GUZMAN, SINALOA CARTEL LEADER, CONVICTED OF RUNNING A CONTINUING CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE AND OTHER DRUG-RELATED CHARGES
WASHINGTON – Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Loera, recognized by numerous aliases, including “El Chapo” and “El Rapido,” was convicted on Tuesday Feb. 12, by a federal jury in Brooklyn, New York of being a principal operator of a unbroken legal enterprise – the Mexican organized crime syndicate generally known as the Sinaloa Cartel – a cost that features 26 drug-related violations and one murder conspiracy. Guzman Loera was convicted of all 10 counts of a superseding indictment, together with narcotics trafficking, using a firearm in furtherance of his drug crimes and collaborating in a cash laundering conspiracy. The verdict followed a 12-week trial earlier than U.S. District Decide Brian M. Cogan. Guzman Loera faces a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment at his sentencing scheduled on June 25.
Appearing Lawyer Common Matthew G. Whitaker, U.S. Department of Homeland Safety Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Assistant Lawyer Basic Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Legal Division, U.S. Lawyer Richard P. Donoghue for the Japanese District of New York, U.S. Lawyer Ariana Fajardo Orshan for the Southern District of Florida, Appearing Administrator Uttam Dhillon of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), FBI Director Christopher Wray, Government Associate Director Derek Benner of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Appearing U.S. Marshal Bryan T. Mullee of the Japanese District of New York, introduced the verdict.
The Proof at Trial:
As proven at trial, Guzman Loera was a principal leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, a Mexico-based worldwide drug trafficking group chargeable for importing and distributing huge quantities of cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine and heroin into america. The proof at trial, including testimony from 14 cooperating witnesses; narcotics seizures totaling over 130,000 kilograms of cocaine and heroin; weapons, including AK-47s and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher; ledgers; text messages; movies; pictures and intercepted recordings, detailed the drug trafficking activity of Guzman Loera and his co-conspirators over a 25-year period from January 1989 till December 2014. Guzman Loera was repeatedly referred to by witnesses as one of the leaders of the Sinaloa Cartel.
Guzman Loera oversaw the smuggling of narcotics to wholesale distributors in Arizona, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and elsewhere. The billions of illicit dollars generated from drug sales in america have been then clandestinely transported again to Mexico. Guzman Loera also used “sicarios,” or hit males, who carried out tons of of acts of violence in Mexico to enforce Sinaloa’s management of territories and to remove those who posed a menace to the Sinaloa Cartel.
In the middle of the decades-long drug trafficking conspiracy, the Sinaloa Cartel transported tens of hundreds of kilograms of narcotics from Central and South America for distribution in america. Guzman Loera used numerous strategies to transport the cartel’s narcotics into america, including submarines, carbon fiber airplanes, trains with secret compartments and transnational underground tunnels. A number of witnesses testified about seizures by regulation enforcement officers of large quantities of cocaine, heroin and marijuana linked to the Sinaloa Cartel. One of many largest seizures of medicine sure for the USA concerned over seven tons of cocaine hid in jalapeño cans.
The jury additionally heard recordings of Guzman Loera’s personal damning phrases discussing his drug trafficking, corruption and violence. The calls included Guzman Loera discussing sending “ice,” which means methamphetamine, to Los Angeles, California; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Ohio and Tucson, Arizona.
Guzman Loera additionally utilized a classy encrypted communications network to function the worldwide narcotics trafficking operation. As an info know-how engineer testified at trial, Guzman Loera paid him one million dollars to buy and set up a community to allow the defendant to speak by way of the internet together with his drug trafficking associates in Colombia, Ecuador, Canada and america with out worry of being intercepted by regulation enforcement or his rivals. The witness devised a secret and safe system, consisting of encrypted cell phones and encrypted apps.
The success of the Sinaloa Cartel relied upon using violence to take care of their power throughout the area and beyond. Quite a few co-conspirators testified that Guzman Loera directed his hitmen to kidnap, interrogate, torture and shoot members of rival drug organizations, at occasions finishing up acts of violence himself. A former hitman testified that Guzman Loera beat two males with a tree branch until their bodies “were completely like rag dolls,” earlier than capturing the lads and ordering their our bodies be tossed into a bonfire. The former hitman additionally testified that Guzman Loera interrogated a rival drug cartel member, shot him and ordered that he be buried alive. In an intercepted call, the jury heard Guzman Loera order one among his sicarios to kidnap rival cartel members, but to not kill them without first checking with him.
The Sinaloa Cartel had unfettered entry to weapons. A regulation enforcement witness confirmed the jury over 40 AK-47s that have been seized in El Paso, Texas before they might be delivered to Guzman Loera in Mexico. Moreover, witnesses identifed pictures of varied weapons, including grenades and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher utilized by the Sinaloa Cartel. Guzman Loera’s private arsenal included a gold plated AK-47 and three diamond-encrusted .38 caliber handguns, one emblazoned together with his initials, “JGL.”
The evidence introduced at trial demonstrated that to further the pursuits of the Sinaloa Cartel, Guzman Loera and his organization took benefit of an enormous community of corrupt government officials. These officers ranged from native regulation enforcement officers, prison guards, state officials, high rating members of the armed forces, as well as politicians. These corrupt officials assisted Guzman Loera and his organization in change for tens of millions of dollars’ value of bribery payments. For instance, in line with the testimony of a number of witnesses, in many situations, Guzman Loera and his staff have been warned of pending regulation enforcement operations which allowed Guzman Loera to keep away from capture on multiple events. In different situations, Guzman Loera, by way of his staff, paid officials to show a blind eye to trafficking actions in an effort to facilitate the shipment of medicine, weapons, and bulk cash.
Guzman Loera’s profitable drug trafficking enterprise generated billions of dollars in illicit proceeds. Guzman Loera used numerous methods to launder money including bulk money smuggling from america to Mexico. One of many largest seizures was of $1.26 million seized from hidden compartments in a truck pushed by Guzman Loera’s brother in Douglas, Arizona in 1989. In addition to the bulk money smuggling, Guzman Loera oversaw numerous shell corporations, including a juice firm and a fish flour firm to launder the cartel’s narcotics trafficking proceeds.
“I am pleased that the Department has brought Joaquin Guzman Loera (El Chapo) to justice by securing a conviction against this drug kingpin, who was a principal leader of the Sinaloa Cartel,” stated Appearing Lawyer Common Whitaker. “As was clear to the jury, Guzman Loera’s massive, multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise was responsible for flooding the streets of the United States with hundreds of tons of cocaine, as well as enormous quantities of other dangerous drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine. The trial evidence also overwhelmingly showed that Guzman’s unceasing efforts to expand his cartel’s control and consolidate its power left a wake of corruption and violence in communities in both Mexico and the United States. This case demonstrated the extraordinary reach of the U.S. government, our tenacity and commitment to pursuing kingpins like Guzman whom — if their power is unchecked — will, like Guzman, develop what for 25 years was an almost unstoppable capacity to move massive quantities of drugs into our country. Guzman had the capital to absorb huge losses and run his enterprise with impunity; the enormous power to corrupt; and the capability to employ violence on a massive scale. This case, and more importantly, this conviction serves as an irrefutable message to the kingpins that remain in Mexico, and those that aspire to be the next Chapo Guzman, that eventually you will be apprehended and prosecuted. Finally, this verdict demonstrates that the United States, working in close partnership with the Mexican government, will continue to bring all possible resources to bear in its fight against international drug traffickers and their violent organizations.”
“The guilty verdict against Joaquin Guzman Loera, one of the most violent and feared drug kingpins of our time, is a testament to the hard work and courage of America’s frontline law enforcement personnel, including ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations,” stated DHS Secretary Nielsen. “They gathered substantial evidence over multiple investigations, which made his extradition to the United States and a successful prosecution possible. Today’s verdict sends an unmistakable message to transnational criminals: you cannot hide, you are not beyond our reach, and we will find you and bring you to face justice. Like Guzman, you will suffer the consequences of your criminal behavior. I applaud the brave men and women at DHS who helped make this conviction possible and thank our interagency and international partners for their exceptional work.”
“Guzman Loera’s bloody reign atop the Sinaloa Cartel has come to an end, and the myth that he could not be brought to justice has been laid to rest,” stated U.S. Lawyer Donoghue. “Today, Guzman Loera has been held accountable for the tons of illegal narcotics he trafficked for more than two decades, the murders he ordered and committed, and the billions of dollars he reaped while causing incalculable pain and suffering to those devastated by his drugs. Today’s verdict is the culmination of the tireless work of countless brave members of law enforcement, here and abroad, and we congratulate them. The Department of Justice is committed to eradicating criminal organizations that fuel America’s drug epidemic, and our mission will continue until it is completed.”
“The conviction of former Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquin Guzman Loera strips the power from a man who employed horrific acts of violence to infect communities, throughout the United States and abroad, with the venom of illicit drugs,” stated U.S. Lawyer Fajardo Orshan. “Today’s verdict is a reminder to all, that our international borders do not protect narco-traffickers and the cartels’ criminal enterprises from federal prosecution. U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the nation stand united with our domestic and foreign law enforcement partners, as we continue our fight against transnational criminal organizations.”
“The reign of Joaquin Guzman Loera’s crime and violence has come to an end,” stated FBI Director Wray. “As leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, Guzman Loera carried out and directed acts of brazen violence as he oversaw the import and distribution of vast amounts of illegal drugs throughout the United States. But today, through the steadfast determination and collective efforts of the FBI and our law enforcement partners both domestic and abroad, and due to our continuing partnership with the Government of Mexico, justice has been served.”
“At this time’s conviction of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman demonstrates the dedication and willpower of the men and women of DEA to convey the world’s most dangerous and prolific drug trafficker to justice,” stated DEA Appearing Administrator Dhillon. “Those who bring drugs and violence into the United States that destroy lives and communities will not be tolerated, nor evade our reach. The success of this case is a testament to the strength of our relationship with our Mexican counterparts. DEA will continue to pursue justice worldwide and protect Americans.”
“HSI is committed to using our unique border authority to target and dismantle transnational criminal organizations responsible for trafficking narcotics and bringing violence into the United States,” stated HSI Government Associate Director Benner. “Through collaboration with local, federal and international law enforcement partners, HSI special agents were able to bring an end to Joaquin Guzman Loera’s criminal activities, and help ensure he was brought to justice.”
“The conviction of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman demonstrates what is feasible when regulation enforcement works collectively and coordinates their efforts,” stated Appearing U.S. Marshal Mullee. “The U.S. Marshals Service ensured the integrity of the judicial course of in this case. From offering protected and secure detention and transportation of the world’s most notorious drug kingpin to making sure the anonymity of the jury, protecting the decide, attorneys, witnesses and the general public, the Marshals Service proudly performed its necessary position in the process. I want to categorical my gratitude to all of our regulation enforcement partners who worked tirelessly in help of our mission. They’re the gifted men and women of the New York Metropolis Police Division, Federal Protective Service, 24th Civil Help Staff of the New York Nationwide Guard, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The U.S. Marshals take our duty of protecting the federal judicial process very critically. We should anticipate and deter threats, while constantly creating and using progressive protective techniques. We stock out these obligations with precision day by day throughout the country. The successful prosecution of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman stands as a shining example of our mission.”
When sentenced by Decide Cogan, Guzman Loera faces a mandatory life sentence with out the potential of parole for leading a unbroken legal enterprise, and a sentence of up to life imprisonment on the seven remaining drug counts. After the decision, the government will search a forfeiture money judgment for billions of dollars constituting the cartel’s unlawful drug-trafficking proceeds.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by U.S. Department of Justice Trial Attorneys Amanda Liskamm, Anthony Nardozzi, Michael Lang and Brett Reynolds of the Felony Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gina Parlovecchio, Andrea Goldbarg, Michael Robotti, Patricia Notopoulos and Hiral Mehta of the Japanese District of New York and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Adam Fels and Lynn Kirkpatrick of the Southern District of Florida.
The case was investigated by the DEA, HSI and the FBI, in cooperation with Mexican, Ecuadorian, Netherlands, Dominican, and Colombian regulation enforcement authorities. Substantial assistance was offered by the U.S. Attorneys’ Workplaces in the Northern District of Illinois, the Western District of Texas, the Southern District of New York, the Southern District of California and the District of New Hampshire. The Department of Justice’s Workplace of International Affairs also played an integral position in securing the extradition of Guzman Loera to the USA, in cooperation with authorities of the Mexican government, with out which his extradition and prosecution would not have been attainable. The investigative efforts in this case have been coordinated with the Department of Justice’s Particular Operations Division, comprising of agents, analysts and attorneys from the Felony Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section; DEA New York, DEA Miami, FBI Washington Subject Office, FBI New York Subject Workplace, FBI Miami Area Office; HSI New York, HSI Nogales; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; U.S. Marshals Service; IRS Felony Investigation; U.S. Bureau of Prisons, NYPD and New York State Police.
This case is the results of the continued efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Process Drive (OCDETF), a partnership that brings collectively the combined experience and unique talents of federal, state and local regulation enforcement businesses. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to determine, disrupt, dismantle and prosecute high degree members of drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations and enterprises.
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