Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, the famous Mexican drug kingpin has just been found guilty on all 10 counts at his drug trafficing trial, in New York.
El Chapo was accused of smuggling mass amounts of drugs into the US, ordering hits, kindnappings, tortures and assaults on hundreds of people.
The jury's result was unanimous, concluding the 11 week trial, and saw testimony from former allies of the drug lord, including a top former lieutenant.
El Chapo was arrested back in 2016, five months after famously having escaped through a tunnel leading from under the prison where he previously was incarcerated.
Story of a Drug Lord
El Chapo ran the notorious Sinaloa cartel in northern Mexico for years, and in 2009 was the 701st richest man in the world, with net worth estimated at $1b. All thanks to his horrific empire being capable of incredible criminal feats, including it being one of the biggest drug traffickers to the US.
Contents of the Trial
The court heard many shocking accusations against El Chapo, including that of him having sex slaves as young as 13, which he drugged and raped. He called them "vitamins" because they "gave him life", as testified by former associate and fellow Colombian drug trafficker, Alex Cifuentes.
Cifuentes also testified that El Chapo bribed with $100 mil US dollars the former Mexican Preisdent Enrique Peña Nieto, when he first assumed office. Nieto is said to then have gotten back to El Chapo, requesting an additional bribe of $250 mil, in return for Nieto dropping a man hunt against El Chapo. Mr Nieto has not commented publically on the accusations.
If proven to be true, who else knows what corruption was allowed to take place under the Mr Nieto (who was president of Mexico from December 1st 2012 to November 30th 2018) and other officials, via El Chapo or any number of rich enough criminals.
Further, the court heard accusations of El Chapo himself beating two people who went to join a rival cartel til they were "completely like rag dolls". This preceded him shotting them in the head, and ordering their bodies be dumped in a fire.
Hi own cousin was even murdered by El Chapo via a hit job for lying about being out of town, and he had the brother of another cartel leader killed for refusing to shake his hand.
A former cartel lieutenant asked El Chapo why he killed people, and in the alleged reply, he said: "Either your mom's going to cry or their mom's going to cry."
As far as escapes go, this one indeed reads as one straight from the movies. The drug lord's sons bought a property close to the prison, and smuggled in a watch containing a GPS to their dad on the inside. This way, they were aware of his location at all times, and were able to organise the tunnel being dug towards him.
A small motorcycle was made available for El Chapo to ride out of the tunnel to escape. He even complained to the guards during the tunnel's construction, that he could heard the loud digging noises.
Also smuggled to him in prison was a phone with spy software for him to keep a tab on his wife and mistresses, yet also preserved a record of text messages he sent to them, which were used by the FBI in court.
The Significance and Legacy of this Trial
Guzman, aka El Chapo, was a notrious criminal responsible for vast numbers horrific crimes and enumerable amounts of suffering. His successful prosecution represents the deliverance of some justice on behalf of his victims.
However, the Drug War - the conflict manufactured for political reasons by Richard Nixon and his team, and that has been heightened many times since by leaders in several countries, often for nefarious reasons, has been a complete disaster. Over 100,000 people have been killed, and the violence, crime, addiction and overdoses caused by hardcore drugs has only gotten worse. The militaristic approach to the problem itself only breeds more violence, and strengthens cartels.
Whilst this conviction is a significant victory for society and the loved ones of his victims, the imprisonment of El Chapo will not stop the suffering so many are experiencing as a result of drug addiction, overdoses, and related crime.
Only an end to the drug war through the legalisation of drugs, which completely takes away the revenue streams for cartels and allows people to get treatment, can do that.