In this Jan. 8, 2016 file photo, drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is made to face the media in Mexico City as he is escorted by Mexican soldiers following his recapture six months after escaping from a maximum security prison. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo, File)

Closing arguments in trial of Mexican drug lord ‘El Chapo’

Prosecutor: Joaquin Guzman feared prosecution on US soil

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was portrayed Wednesday in closing arguments at his U.S. trial as a ruthless Mexican drug lord who also became skilled at evading capture and escaping prison because he feared facing justice on American soil.

“Why didn’t the defendant want to get caught? I submit it was because he knew he was guilty,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrea Goldbarg told the jury. “He always had an escape plan in place.”

READ MORE: Woman testifies against El Chapo, details affair

The defendant, who knew he had been named in a U.S. indictment, had his Sinaloa cartel dig a mile-long (1.6-kilometre-long) tunnel to break him out a Mexican prison in 2014, a stunt showing “just how badly he wanted to avoid being here today,” she added.

The arguments came at a trial where Guzman is facing multiple drug and murder conspiracy charges that could land him in prison for life if he’s convicted. The defence, which was to give its closing on Thursday, insists the defendant’s role in the organization has been embellished, and that the real cartel boss remains on the loose in Mexico.

With Guzman at the defence table with three plainclothes deputy U.S. marshals seated immediately behind him, Goldbarg began her argument by recounting the testimony of a former cartel crony who claimed he witnessed Guzman nearly beat to death two men from Sinaloa after paid-off authorities told him they were working for a rival cartel. The witness said Guzman cursed at the men before shooting them in the head and ordering their bodies thrown on a bonfire.

“The cartel’s engines were corruption and violence,” she said. The combination allowed Guzman “to impose his will on anyone who got in his way,” she added.

READ MORE: US trial to tell epic tale of Mexican drug lord “El Chapo”

Goldbarg pointed to an “avalanche” of evidence including testimony from a former Colombian kingpin who said he supplied the cartel and received 55,000 kilograms (121,253 pounds) during the early 2000s with assurances from Guzman that he could get it across the U.S. border faster than anyone.

Of the 14 co-operators who took the witness stand, 11 testified that they took orders from the defendant, she said.

The prosecutor offered snippets of Guzman’s communications so the jury could hear him doing business “in his own words.” In one, he cautioned his father-in-law not to use radios when running drugs at the border because he had been tipped off to eavesdropping by border agents.

“This is the defendant running his empire,” Goldbarg said.

The prosecutors told jurors if they had any doubt Guzman was guilty, they should ask themselves why he acted the way he did: why he had bodyguards, hid out in the Sinaloa mountainside, dug secret trap doors in his safe houses and used spyware on his wife and two girlfriends.

“The questions could go on and on,” Goldbarg said. “The answer is common sense.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Indigenous festival co-creator looking to build traditonal Okanagan event

The inaugural Okanagan Indigenous Music and Arts Festival is July 6 and 7

Lake Country woman turns Beauty and the Beast into an opera

The performance will be on July 4. at 7:30 p.m.

Gas spill in Kelowna

Approximately 200 litres were spilled onto a parking lot off of McCurdy Road

Police seek two suspects and car after stabbing in Kelowna

The stabbing took place on Friday evening on Wilson Avenue. It sent one man to hospital.

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Thunderstorm leaves small fire in the Shuswap in its wake

Wildfire crews are also fighting a small fire near Kamloops

South Okanagan pharmacy restricted from dispensing opioid treatment drugs

B.C. College of Pharmacists alleges Sunrise Pharmacy dispensed treatment drugs against rules

Okanagan pitcher tosses second no-hitter of season

Vernon’s Jarod Leroux has two no-nos in his last three starts for the BCPBL’s Okanagan Athletics

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Summerland Health Care Auxiliary completes hospital donation pledge early

$1M contribution to medical equipment campaign completed half a year earlier than expected

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Summerland ready for dry summer conditions

Province has declared Level Two drought, but Summerland has not increased watering restrictions

Summerland pioneers had connection to Middlesex, England

Harry Dunsdon and Richard Turner became cattlemen

Most Read