File photo of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman File photo of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman 

US appeals court upholds life sentence for ‘El Chapo’ Guzman

A US court of appeals has confirmed the life imprisonment sentence handed down to Mexico’s most notorious drug cartel kingpin, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

By James Blears

The ruling from the Manhattan 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the arguments, presented in an appeal by the attorneys of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel.

The court categorically rejected the notion that Judge Brian Cogan allowed the jury to hear and consider extra evidence at the 2019 trial, concluding that he conducted proceedings diligently, correctly and fairly.

The prosecution secured a guilty verdict and a life imprisonment sentence.

20 years of terror

Guzman’s illicit activities lasted more than twenty years and were based in Mexico, but the tentacles of his operation’s drug trafficking extended to more than forty countries globally.

His lawyers argued that there were scandalous claims against him, which weren’t part of the government’s central case, and tainted the procedure.

But the final ruling categorically stated: "Any possible prejudice was harmless, considering the overwhelming evidence of Guzman’s guilt."

No escape now

Guzman was extradited to the United States in 2017, after twice escaping from maximum security prisons in Mexico.

During the second escape, his henchmen and mining experts noisily dug a tunnel into his jail cell, and he escaped on a motorbike placed on a specially-designed mini railway.

26 January 2022, 07:55