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

One day cat cafe comes to Lake Country

The Lake Country Art Gallery will host the adoption event

The Lonely to celebrate Roy Orbison’s music

The tribute show will come to Kelowna Sept. 27

No one hurt in West Kelowna rollover

The crash took place at Sonoma Pines Drive and Carrington Road

Annual student film fest returns to UBC Okanagan

The 4th annual film fest returns April 29 at Mary Irwin Theatre

Garden wine tasting event offers flash sale for Mother’s Day

Better Earth Wine, Cider & Spirits Tasting and Garden Party will be held May 11

VIDEO: Are you concerned about Facebook leaking personal information?

Local Okanagan Facebook users speak on the social platform’s privacy settings

Summerland auxiliary raised $1M for hospital tower

Funds came from sales at Summerland Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Shop

Eagle’s nest receives reno after Chase grass fire

BC Hydro used to dealing with osprey nests, not so much with bald eagles

Amber alert issued for 5-year-old Ontario boy

Ethan Montes is believed to be in the company of his mother, 47-year-old Juliet Mohammed

Air Canada schedule changing out of South Okanagan, at least for the summer

Air Canada released their updated schedule out of the Penticton airport on Thursday

Workshop digs up water wise gardens

Learn about Xeriscape gardening in the Okanagan

Vernon Have a Heart Radiothon returns

Donations, which will be given to the VJH Maternity Ward, are being accepted until 6 p.m. Thursday, April 25.

Blaine, Wash. inn owner, charged with smuggling people into B.C., granted bail

Robert Joseph Boule ordered to turn away anyone indicating a plan to enter Canada illegally

Most Read