• James Thorpe

El Chapo Pleads “Not Guilty” in Federal Court in Brooklyn

Photo courtesy of ABC News

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was extradited to the United States of America for numerous outstanding warrants by Mexican authorities on Thursday. Guzman, who ran the notorious Sinaloa cartel, appeared in court in Brooklyn clean-shaven as he pled “not guilty” to 17 charges that were brought against him. “El Chapo” is alleged to have ran a narcotics distribution empire from 1989 to 2014 that stretched across the globe as well as numerous firearms violations, money laundering, extortion and drug trafficking. It is estimated that he made a total of $14 billion from narcotics sales. If found guilty, “El Chapo” faces a minimum of life in prison and prosecutors are also seeking a criminal forfeiture of $14 billion.

This is not the first time that Guzman has found himself in the hands of law enforcement. In 1993, Guzman was arrested in Guatemala and was placed in the Puente Grande which became his new base of operations until his first escape from prison. In 2001, Guzman bribed guards, and according to author Robert Saviano,

“One of them—Francisco Camberos Rivera, known as El Chito, or the Silent One—opened the door to El Chapo’s cell and helped him climb into a cart of dirty laundry. They headed down unguarded hallways and through wide-open electronic doors to the inner parking lot, where only one guard was on duty. El Chapo jumped out of the cart and leaped into the trunk of a Chevrolet Monte Carlo.”

He remained on the lam until 2014 when he was captured hiding in a tunnel in Mazatlan, Mexico. He was in custody for over a year until he escaped through a tunnel in his shower. Once he was in the tunnel, he hopped on this motorcycle rail cart and took it to a safehouse which he used to escape to freedom. He was only free for seven months before being captured for what looks like the last time in Sinaloa after a shootout with Mexican marines that left five civilians dead and one marine wounded.

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