US jury convicts Mexican drug lord El Chapo

Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman centre

In this courtroom drawing, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, centre, sits at the defence table while listening to the judge addressing the jury during his long-running drug trafficking trial in NY.

A grand jury in New York City found Mexican drug cartel kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman guilty on all counts; setting the stage for a high-stakes sentencing hearing that could send the global criminal to prison for the rest of his life.

Over the course of two and a half months, a jury of eight women and four men in Brooklyn federal court heard testimony about unspeakable torture and ghastly murders, epic corruption at almost every level of Mexico's government, narco-mistresses and naked subterranean escapes, gold-plated AK-47s and monogrammed, diamond-encrusted pistols.

He faces up to life in prison, and his sentencing date is June 25.

One of the major figures in Mexican drug wars that have roiled the country since 2006, Guzman was extradited to the United States for trial in 2017 after he was arrested in Mexico the year before.

Federal court marshals whisked Guzman out of the courtroom immediately after the judge read the guilty verdict.

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On Tuesday, Lichtman called the conviction "devastating", but he said he was proud that the defence "left it all on the battlefield". His lawyers say Guzman is not a criminal mastermind but just a fall guy for the leader of the Sinaloa cartel, Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada.

Jurors agreed with prosecutors that he amassed huge wealth and power leading 'the world's largest and most prolific drug trafficking organization.' They heard blood-curdling evidence about how El Chapo once beat and shot a worker who defected to a rival cartelk, before burying him alive.

Witnesses detailed assassinations and political payoffs, and how drugs were smuggled using tanker trucks, railway carriages and even shipments of canned peppers.

U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan lauded the jury's meticulous attention to detail and the "remarkable" approach it took toward deliberations.

The defense has accused prosecution cooperators of making him a scapegoat for their own crimes.

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