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Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman sentenced to life in federal prison

Drug kingpin from Mexico says judge ‘denied me a fair trial’

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Published: July 17, 2019, 5:47pm
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In this courtroom sketch, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, right, listens to his sentence via interpreter Wednesday in New York. At left is defense attorney Marc Fernich. elizabeth williams/Associated Press
In this courtroom sketch, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, right, listens to his sentence via interpreter Wednesday in New York. At left is defense attorney Marc Fernich. elizabeth williams/Associated Press Photo Gallery

NEW YORK — Mexican drug kingpin and escape artist Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was sentenced Wednesday to life behind bars in a U.S. prison, expressing no remorse over his conviction for a massive drug conspiracy that spread murder and mayhem for more than two decades.

Instead, a defiant Guzman took a parting shot at a judge in federal court in Brooklyn by accusing him of making a mockery of the U.S. justice system in refusing to order a new trial based on unsubstantiated allegations of juror misconduct.

“My case was stained and you denied me a fair trial when the whole world was watching,” Guzman said through an interpreter.

Experts say he will likely wind up at the federal government’s Supermax prison in Florence, Colo., where inmates are held alone for 23 hours a day and have little human interaction.

“Since the government will send me to a jail where my name will not ever be heard again, I take this opportunity to say there was no justice here,” he said.

The 62-year-old drug lord — sporting his trademark moustache after being clean-shaven during his trial — also used what could be his last chance to speak in public by complaining about being kept in solitary confinement since he was brought to the U.S. to stand trial after twice breaking out of Mexican prisons.

Before handing down the sentence, U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan said Guzman’s complaints were minor given the “mountain range of evidence” against him detailing conduct he described as “evil.”

On Wednesday, the judge heard from one of Guzman’s alleged victims, Andrea Velez Fernandez, who once worked for him until she made his enemy list. She claimed he put out a $1 million bounty to have her killed.

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