Mexican drug kingpin Joaquín Guzmán, better known as “El Chapo,” was sentenced to life plus 30 years in prison by a federal judge in Brooklyn Wednesday. Guzmán, who was convicted in February on murder conspiracy and drug charges, was also ordered to pay $12.6 billion in money he made off his drug business.
Guzman’s long tenure as head of the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico is filled with details only seen in Hollywood movies: gangland-style murders, massive political bribes, diamond-encrusted guns, and clandestine escapes from prison through underground tunnels. Through it all, Guzman built a billion-dollar criminal enterprise trafficking heroin, cocaine, marijuana and synthetic fentanyl into the United States. Guzman, 62, spoke at his sentencing on Wednesday. CBS News’ Cassandra Gauthier was in the courtroom when Guzman addressed U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan while speaking through a translator.
Guzman called his confinement “total torture,” claiming he had been “forced to drink unsanitary water.” He said the air he breathes through a duct “makes my ears, my throat, my head hurt.”He complained that his wife Emma Coronel has not been able to visit him. “I have not been able to hug my daughters. It has been psychological, emotional, mental torture 24 hours a day.” He called his confinement “the most inhumane situation I’ve ever been in.” He remarked how when he was extradited, he “expected to have a fair trial… what happened was actually the opposite.”In February, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Richard Donoghue, said he expected a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.”It is a sentence from which there is no escape and no return,” Donoghue said. “His conviction is a victory for the American people who have suffered so long and so much while Guzman made billions pouring poison over our southern border.”Guzman is expected to be sent to United States Penitentiary Florence, a SuperMax prison in Colorado, reports CBS News’ Cassandra Gauthier and CBS News senior investigative producer Pat Milton.Standing outside the Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn, New York, on Wednesday, Guzman’s attorney Jeffrey Lichtman blasted the verdict.