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Thread: U.S. - Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's trial in New York / found guilty on all counts

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    U.S. - Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's trial in New York / found guilty on all counts

    El Chapo: trial of Mexican cartel boss begins in New York
    Ed Vulliamy
    The Guardian
    November 14th, 2018

    The long-awaited trial of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has begun in New York, with prosecutors accusing him of heading up the world's most powerful drug cartel from 1989 to 2014, bringing cocaine into the United States at times worth up to $10m a day.

    But in his opening remarks on Tuesday, a lawyer for Guzman told the jury the prosecution had fallen for the "myth of El Chapo" to distract from a failed "war on drugs", and claimed that his client was a scapegoat for the real leader of the Sinaloa cartel.

    Defence attorney Jeffrey Lichtman alleged on behalf of his client that that Mexican officials -- including current and former presidents -- had received bribes to protect Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, another reputed trafficker who is still at large.

    A spokesman for outgoing president Enrique Pena Nieto called the allegation "false and defamatory", while his predecessor Felipe Calderon tweeted that the remarks were "absolutely false and reckless".

    Opening statements by both sides indicated that the trial will hinge on the testimony of former allies of Guzman, who have turned state's evidence. Each side promised a bitter battle over the veracity and credibility of such witnesses.
    Read the full story here.

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    El Chapo trial: judge rebukes defense attorney over opening statement
    The Guardian
    November 14th, 2018

    A US judge has admonished the lawyer for drug smuggler Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman over his opening statement in which he accused two Mexican presidents of taking bribes.

    Federal prosecutors had asked US district judge Brian Cogan to throw out the defense’s opening statement at Guzman's New York trial, saying it was "permeated with improper argument, unnoticed affirmative defenses and inadmissible hearsay".

    Cogan stopped short of that on Wednesday, but admonished defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman for having gone "far afield of direct or circumstantial proof". He said he would instruct the jury to focus on the evidence.

    "Your opening statement handed out a promissory note that your case is not going to cash," the judge said, calling Lichtman's opening misleading.

    In his opening statement on Tuesday, Lichtman told jurors that US prosecutors had dreamed "for decades" of convicting Guzman, adding: "The world is focusing on this mythical El Chapo figure."
    Read the full story here.

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    El Chapo trial: accountant exposes details of cartel's vast operations
    Ed Vulliamy
    The Guardian
    November 15th, 2018

    The inner workings -- and vast financial scale -- of what is alleged to be the world's biggest narco-trafficking organisation, the Sinaloa cartel, began to be laid bare on Wednesday by a former leader of the syndicate, Jesus Zambada Garcia, testifying against his own immediate boss, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, on trial in New York.

    Zambada, the cartel's chief accountant for more than 15 years, said his brother, Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, and Guzman were considered the top leaders of the Sinaloa cartel.

    Ismael Zambada, now presumed to be running the organisation, is said by many to be behind a betrayal of Guzman.

    The prosecution called Jesus Zambada Garcia as only its third witness, causing surprise that one of the crucial "snitch" witnesses who have turned state's evidence had appeared so soon; Zambada was arrested in 2008 on drug trafficking charges, extradited to the US and pleaded guilty.

    Direct examination began by establishing Zambada’s proximity to Guzman: he had organised helicopter transport for him soon after a jailbreak in 2001, "to escape from military forces because they were about to recapture him". He spoke to him by telephone on a number of occasions and was briefed on Guzman's management of the cartel by his brother, the court heard.
    Read the full story here.

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    El Chapo trial: Sinaloa cartel bribed top police officials, ex-member testifies
    The Guardian
    November 15th, 2018

    A former Mexican cartel member who is testifying for the US government at the trial of notorious drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman detailed on Thursday how the Sinaloa cartel paid bribes, preferably in US dollars, to high-ranking police and other officials to protect its operation.

    Jesus Zambada, whose brother was once considered one of the cartel's leaders, said during his second day on the witness stand in Brooklyn that Guzman once directed him to give $100,000, along with a hug, to a general in the state of Guerrero.

    On Wednesday, Zambada had identified Guzman in the courtroom and told jurors he "was one of the most powerful drug traffickers in Mexico".

    The witness described how the cartel made massive profits by smuggling tons of cocaine into the United States.

    Zambada -- a 57-year-old trained accountant who was arrested in 2008 and is still in US custody -- was the first of several cooperators expected to give jurors an inside look at a cartel with a legendary lust for drugs, cash and violence.
    Read the full story here.

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    Bluelighter LucidSDreamr's Avatar
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    I'm really hoping he escapes again, this time from american jail....and he gets back to doing what he does best.

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    Mexaxx should be pressing MDMX pills. They would be making mucho denaro.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LucidSDreamr View Post
    I'm really hoping he escapes again, this time from american jail....and he gets back to doing what he does best.
    Me too. But I'm not overly worried. Someone has already taken his place.
    Addicted? Want to stop? We can help! Come to the sober living forum!
    http://www.bluelight.org/vb/forums/269-Sober-Living

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    Quote Originally Posted by cj View Post
    Me too. But I'm not overly worried. Someone has already taken his place.
    Indeed. But he has accomplished so much I hope just for him that he gets out

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    El Chapo trial: cartel leader had private zoo and $10m beach house
    The Guardian
    November 27th, 2018

    Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was so rich, he had a private zoo where big cats roamed, he bought a $10m beach house and he traveled to Switzerland for an anti-ageing treatment.

    Guzman's excesses were detailed at his US trial on Tuesday by a former cartel crony-turned-government witness, Miguel Angel Martinez, who told jurors that a cocaine boom in the early 1990s fueled the lavish spending spree.

    "He had houses at every single beach," said Martinez, formerly a close friend and top assistant. "He had ranches in every single state."

    Martinez described how the Sinaloa cartel was smuggling tons of cocaine into the US -- through tunnels dug under the border, in tanker trucks with secret compartments, even in fake chili pepper cans. What came back in the other direction, he said, was tens of millions of dollars in cash.

    Much of it ended up in Tijuana, where Guzman would send his three private jets each month to pick it up, Mart?nez said. On average, each plane would carry up to $10m, he said.
    Read the full story here.

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    Is Emma Coronel the devoted wife of El Chapo, or is she being used as a prop?
    Ed Vulliamy
    The Guardian
    December 15th, 2018

    There she is in the cafeteria at New York's eastern district courthouse, when Judge Brian Cogan adjourns her husband's trial: Emma Coronel Guzman.

    ...

    She was censured last week by her husband's prosecutors for being twice in possession of a forbidden cell phone in the courtroom vicinity, and what court documents call "unauthorized" and "impermissible contact" with Guzman. The heavily redacted papers say it was made "in concert with an attorney" -- implicating the defence team.

    And this week, Ms Coronel broke her silence on Telemundo TV, saying her husband was a "humble" man who wants "everyone to realize how things really are and see it all from another perspective". The media had made El Chapo "too famous", though: "I think he did like [the attention], he does like it a little." "We have a business," she said, specifying an irrigation enterprise, but "I cannot talk about that because everything in my life makes for scandal."

    Who is Emma Coronel, and what is her role? "It seems like the defence team is showcasing Emma and the kids in public", says Derek Maltz, former agent for the DEA's special operations division in New York "so people may feel sorry for this man who will most likely be in jail for the rest of his life".

    "Do these people covering the trial really believe in the beautiful love story between El Chapo and Emma?" says Anabel Hernandez, who conducted a first interview with Ms Coronel in 2016. "Oh come on. She's a distraction, and that in itself is important to El Chapo and the lawyers". But as Hernandez goes on to explain, there's more to it than that.
    Read the full story here.

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    Behind the El Chapo trial: what's been left unsaid in a New York courtroom
    Ed Vulliamy
    The Guardian
    January 3rd, 2019

    The tectonic plates beneath a big mafia trial shift out of sight from the proceedings, but occasionally there is a glimpse of the bigger picture. The trial of the alleged Sinaloa cartel chief Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman -- which resumes on Thursday -- has been no exception.

    The proceedings have offered extraordinary detail of the workings of a Mexican cartel, but have been hallmarked by what is unseen -- and kept that way by Judge Brian Cogan.

    Day-to-day testimony has been like a Netflix thriller, yet it has obscured the nexus of top-level corruption the world's biggest criminal organisation operated north and south of the US border.

    The detail from cartel "snitches" testifying for the prosecution against their old boss or partner has been riveting. Guzman's first employee, pilot Miguel Angel Martinez, described a trip with Guzman to Japan, Thailand and Macau, and a visit they made to Los Angeles to spend $6m on planes before a gambling spree in Las Vegas. Guzman went to Switzerland, he said, for cellular anti-ageing treatment.

    Guzman ran a private zoo, and distributed bonus diamond-studded Rolexes and fancy cars to favourite underlings. Cocaine was smuggled to the US in what looked like cans of jalapeno peppers. Even Guzman -- usually pensive -- laughed when his lawyer William Purpura, picked up one of the cans entered in evidence, and told the court: "I've been dying to hold this one."
    Read the full story here.

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    El Chapo v El Vicentillo: son of cartel's co-founder testifies against drug lord
    Ed Vulliamy
    The Guardian
    January 4th, 2019

    One of the greatest betrayals in mafia history emerged into open court this week at the New York trial of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, as the former heir-apparent to Guzman's Sinaloa federation turned against his own boss, the cartel -- and apparently even his own father.

    Vicente Zambada Niebla -- "El Vicentillo" -- is the son of Guzman's longtime partner and co-founder of the cartel, Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada Garcia, and was once groomed to take over the business.

    But in court on Thursday, he testified for the prosecution.

    Zambada Niebla -- the cartel's former operations manager, envoy to politicians and businessmen and logistics supervisor -- told the court that he started accompanying his father to planning meetings as a teenager.

    "I started realizing how everything was done," he testified, "and little by little, I started getting involved in my father's business."
    Read the full story here.

    Looks like Guzman is perhaps being thrown under the bus by his partner, Zambada Garcia.

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    El Chapo trial: cartel boss spied on wives and mistresses as FBI eavesdropped
    Ed Vulliamy
    The Guardian
    January 10th, 2019

    The recorded, wiretapped life of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has dominated this week's evidence at his trial for allegedly running the world's biggest narco-traffic organisation.

    For all his four (perhaps five) wives, serial mistresses and up to 19 children, Guzman used his own cyber-security system to spy on ladies in his life -- even as US authorities eavesdropped on him.

    In one call, the cartel boss was recorded for US authorities hoping to one day arm a six-month-old daughter with an AK-47 Kalashnikov.

    Guzman's electronic life was revealed thanks to evidence from an undercover FBI agent, Charles Stephen Marston, and the man he recruited: the cartel's top IT fixer, Cristian Rodriguez.

    Marston had posed as a Russian mafioso to lure Rodriguez into disclosing codes for communications using Voice over Internet Protocol using servers in the Netherlands.
    Read the full story here.

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    El Chapo paid $100m bribe to former Mexican president Pena Nieto, witness says
    The Guardian
    January 15th, 2019

    A witness at the US trial of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has testified that he told US authorities the accused Mexican drug lord once paid a $100m bribe to the former Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto.

    Alex Cifuentes, who has said he was a close associate of the Sinaloa cartel chief for years, discussed the alleged bribe under cross-examination by one of Guzman's lawyers in Brooklyn federal court on Tuesday. Asked if he told authorities in 2016 that Guzman arranged the bribe, he answered: "That's right."

    Pena Nieto was president of Mexico from December 2012 until November 2018. He previously served as governor of the state of Mexico.

    The former president made no immediate comment on the allegation. His former chief of staff, however, took to social media to reject the accusation.

    "The declarations of the Colombian drug trafficker in New York are false, defamatory and absurd," tweeted Francisco Guzman, adding that the Pena Nieto government "located, detained and extradited" the Mexican kingpin.
    Read the full story here.

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    A naked escape and bribed presidents: El Chapo trial's shocking testimony
    Ed Vulliamy
    The Guardian
    January 19th, 2019

    That Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzm?n -- on trial in New York for heading the world's biggest drug cartel -- escaped a raid through a tunnel beneath his bath is legend; what is not known is that he did so stark naked with the mistress with whom he was abed when the Mexican marines arrived.

    That Guzman's Sinaloa cartel bribed politicians and senior military officers is presumed by most Mexicans; that he bribed presidents would surprise few -- what we had not heard is that he allegedly haggled down a presidential demand for $250m protection money to $100m.

    But this is what emerges as Guzman's prosecutors home in on the closing stages of their case at the US federal court in Brooklyn.

    When Guzman's former mistress Lucero Guadalupe Sanchez Lopez took the stand on Thursday, El Chapo knew it was coming: journalists had been tipped off by defence counsel last week that she might testify.

    Guzman's wife Emma Coronel -- loyally present almost every day of the trial -- probably braced herself too; the couple had been married for seven years -- since 2007 -- when the bathroom incident occurred, and their twin daughters were two years old.
    Read the full story here.

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    El Chapo's wife aided in 2015 prison break, cartel member testifies
    The Guardian
    January 23rd, 2019

    The wife of the Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman played a key role in his infamous 2015 escape from prison through a tunnel dug into the shower of his cell, one of Guzman's top lieutenants told a court in New York.

    Damaso Lopez Nunez told the jury at Guzman's trial that Emma Coronel Aispuro helped her husband trade messages with his sons and others who coordinated the breakout at Altiplano prison in central Mexico.

    Coronel "was giving us his orders", Lopez said, adding that she also was in on meetings about the escape.

    After Guzman was recaptured and thrown in another Mexican lockup, the cartel paid a $2m bribe to a prison official to get him moved back to Altiplano, Lopez said.

    Before that could happen, Guzman was extradited in 2017 to the US, where he has been kept in solitary confinement.
    Read the full story here.

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    El Chapo trial: ex-bodyguard says he watched boss bury victim alive
    The Guardian
    January 24th, 2019

    A former bodyguard for the accused Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has told a court that he watched his boss personally carry out three murders, including one in which the victim was buried alive.

    The killings described by Isaias Valdez Rios in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, were the first in the three-month-old trial to be attributed to Guzman himself, rather than underlings following his orders.

    ...

    Valdez said that, around 2006 or 2007, Zambada delivered a member of the rival Arellano Felix drug cartel to Guzman. Valdez said Guzman was displeased to find that the prisoner had already been tortured with a hot iron.

    Valdez said Guzman kept the prisoner with him for several days, interrogating him twice. Eventually, he ordered his workers to dig a grave for the man, according to Valdez.

    Guzman then shot the prisoner with a handgun and ordered him buried, though he was still "gasping for air", Valdez said.
    Read the full story here.

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    'El Chapo' defense lasts 30 minutes and calls just one witness
    The Guardian
    January 29th, 2019

    After a prosecution that spanned 11 weeks and had its share of bombshells, the defense case at the US trial of the alleged Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman clocked in on Tuesday at a mere 30 minutes.

    Attorney Jeffrey Lichtman called one witness and entered one document into evidence before resting the defense's case. The jury was sent home for the day with closing arguments set to begin on Wednesday.

    Guzman could face life in prison if convicted of drug and murder conspiracy charges that his lawyers say are fabricated.

    It's not unheard of for defense lawyers to call few or even no witnesses. But Guzman's fleeting defense was striking because it followed a sweeping case by the government that featured 56 witnesses, including colorful cooperators who described how the notorious boss of the Sinaloa cartel ran his cocaine-dealing empire with an iron fist.
    Read the full story here.

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    El Chapo trial: witness claims drug lord committed statutory rape
    The Guardian
    Edward Helmore
    February 3rd, 2019

    Unsealed documents about the Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman contain claims by witnesses that he engaged in sexual acts with minors he called "vitamins". The disturbing allegation comes just as a jury is about to start deliberating in the US drug-trafficking case.

    According to papers made public late on Friday, a key government cooperator told authorities Guzman had him drug girls as young as 13 before Guzman coerced them into sexual activities at one of his Mexican hideouts in the late 2000s.

    One of Guzman's lawyers called the accusations "extremely salacious" and questioned the timing of the government filing.
    Read the full story here.

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    El Chapo trial: jury set for deliberations of infamous Mexican drug lord
    The Guardian
    February 4th, 2019

    After nearly three months of testimony about a vast drug-smuggling conspiracy steeped in violence, a jury is due to begin deliberations on Monday at the US trial of the infamous Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

    A federal judge in Brooklyn is set to give instructions to jurors in the morning before asking them to begin deciding the verdict for Guzman, who faces life in prison.

    The jury has heard months of testimony about Guzman's rise to power as the head of the Sinaloa cartel. Prosecutors say he's responsible for smuggling at least 200 tons of cocaine into the US and a wave of killings in turf wars with other cartels.

    Guzman, 61, is notorious for escaping prison twice in Mexico. In closing arguments, prosecutor Andrea Goldbarg said he was plotting yet another breakout when was he was sent in 2017 to the US, where he has been in solitary confinement ever since.
    Read the full story here.
    Last edited by S.J.P.; 13-02-2019 at 17:10.

  8. #8

  9. #9
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    No surprise there.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by LucidSDreamr View Post
    I'm really hoping he escapes again, this time from american jail....and he gets back to doing what he does best.

    Except the raping of children, maybe.

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