‘El Chapo’ sentenced to life in prison

A United States judge has sentenced Mexican drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán to life in prison plus 30 years.

Guzmán, 62, was found guilty of 10 charges, including drug trafficking and money laundering, by a federal court in New York in February.

He escaped a Mexican jail through a tunnel in 2015 but was later arrested. He was extradited to the US in 2017.

He is a former head of the Sinaloa cartel, which officials say was the biggest supplier of drugs to the US BBC reported.

During the trial, witnesses said he had tortured his cartel’s enemies.

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Speaking through an interpreter just before Wednesday’s sentencing, Guzmán said in the Brooklyn courtroom his confinement in the US had amounted to “psychological, emotional, mental torture 24 hours a day”.

He also said he had received an unfair trial, accusing jurors of misconduct.

The life sentence was the minimum Guzmán faced. The additional 30 years were for unlawful uses of firearms.

He was also ordered to pay $12.6bn (£10bn) in forfeiture.

Prosecutors said Guzmán would be serving his sentence behind “tonnes of steel”, referring to a high-security prison in Colorado.

It was not immediately clear if Guzmán would appeal against the verdict.

“El Chapo” (or “Shorty”) ran the cartel in northern Mexico.

In 2009, Guzmán entered Forbes’ list of the world’s richest men at number 701, with an estimated worth of $1bn.

He was accused of helping bring hundreds of tonnes of cocaine into the US and of conspiring to make and distribute heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana.

He was also said to have used hitmen to carry out hundreds of murders, assaults, kidnappings, and acts of torture.

Key associates, including one former lieutenant, testified against Guzmán. It provided shocking revelations about the drug lord’s life.

Court papers accused him of having girls as young as 13 drugged before raping them.

Guzmán “called the youngest of the girls his ‘vitamins’ because he believed that sexual activity with young girls gave him ‘life'”, said Colombian drug trafficker Alex Cifuentes, a former associate.

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