In this January 19, 2017, file photo provided by US law enforcement, authorities escort Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, center, from a plane to a waiting caravan of SUVs at Long Island MacArthur Airport, in Ronkonkoma, NY.
NEW YORK: Once one of the world’s most dominant and notorious criminals, Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was jailed for life on Wednesday — the obligatory verdict for a host of crimes spanning a quarter-century.
Guzman, the 62-year-old former co-leader of Mexico’s mighty Sinaloa drug cartel, was imprisoned in February in US federal court on a spate of charges, including smuggling hundreds of tons of cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine and heroin into the United States.
The expected hearing in New York covered a dramatic legal story and saw Guzman deliver what will likely be his final public words before he is taken to a supermax federal prison to live out his whole life.
He said, wearing a gray suit, lilac shirt, purple tie and publicly sporting his trademark mustache for the first time stateside, “There was no justice here.”
The charges, which also include money laundering and weapons-related crimes, carried an obligatory life sentence.
US Federal Judge Brian Cogan tacked a symbolic 30 years onto the sentence and ordered Guzman to pay $12.6 billion in penalty — an amount based on a conservative estimate of revenues from his cartel’s drug sales in the United States. So far, US authorities have not recovered a dime.
In the Brooklyn courtroom, Guzman said prayers from his supporters had given him “strength to endure this great torture,” which he said has been “one of the most inhuman that I have ever experienced… a lack of respect for my human dignity.” When entering and before leaving the room, he touched his heart and blew a kiss to his wife Emma Coronel, who wore a black and white suit and potentially saw her husband for the last time.