El Chapo’s trial now enters the jury deliberation stage. 56 different witnesses took the stand during the course of the trial, and 200 hours of testimony were heard. In short, the jury has heard exhaustive accounts of the alleged crimes of the drug kingpin known as El Chapo.
The lifestyle of a drug lord like Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera sounds like something out of a Hollywood blockbuster. The jury has heard ample explanation of the nature of the international drug trade that cartels engage in.
They’ve learned about the Golden Triangle, the region in Mexico that grows ample opium and marijuana to sate American appetites for drugs.
The fast, furious lifestyle of the diamond-encrusted pistol toting, tunnel-escaping, enemy torturing El Chapo must have been a lot for the jury to take in. Accounts of his life sound fictional. The jury surely looked at the man sitting at the defendant’s table and wondered “how could this be real?”
El Chapo, who is now 61, is facing ten criminal charges in this trial. They include conspiracy to launder narcotics proceeds, engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, use of firearms, and international distribution of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and other drugs.
Unsurprisingly, he has pleaded not guilty to these charges.
Guzmán’s defense has hinged on depicting him as something of a scapegoat. The defense holds that Guzmán was never more than a low-level functionary in the cartel’s organization. They depict a man who got caught up in forces much bigger than himself.
His name grew much larger than his actual influence in the cartel, the defense argues.
Guzmán’s lawyers insist that the courts have the wrong guy: the real drug kingpin, they’ve asserted, is still at large in Mexico. Time will tell whether the jury found this argument compelling.
The tales of gold-plated AK-47’s and widespread corruption in the Mexican government depict a very different man than the defense would make Guzmán out to be.