'El Chapo' Sentenced to Life in Prison, Ordered to Pay $12.6B
NEW YORK -- Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison plus 30 years and was ordered to pay $12.6 billion in forfeiture.
Guzman spoke for about 10 minutes in court before the sentence was handed down and called out issues with the jury.
"There was no justice here," he said in Spanish, referring to a report that one juror had spoken about misconduct by some other jurors.
El Chapo, who infamously escaped prison twice in Mexico, also slammed the conditions of his incarceration in New York.
"It's been torture, the most inhumane situation I have lived in my entire life," he said. "It has been physical, emotional and mental torture."
Guzman, 62, was convicted in February of all 10 counts he faced, including engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, which carried a mandatory term of life in prison, as well as drug trafficking and firearms charges.
Prosecutors have called him a "ruthless and bloodthirsty leader" of the Sinaloa cartel.
Witnesses during the trial testified that Guzman ordered and sometimes took part in the torture and murder of perceived cartel enemies.
Guzman, who has been in isolation for two and a half years, is expected to serve out his sentence in the nation's most secure federal prison, the "Supermax" facility in Florence, Colorado.
Defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman, called the criminal case a "show trial" and said that jurors had lied to the judge about what they were doing during the proceedings, an issue that he said was the best chance for appeal.
He also said that the government's plan to recover $12.6 billion in forfeiture is a fiction.
"When they get to dollar 1, wake me up. Right now, there are zero (dollars). So, I don't know that we're really ever going to see anything with that. It's a fiction," he said.
(Photo by the US Drug Enforcement Agency.)