Mexican drug lord, El Chapo has his life sentence appeal rejected by US judge

A New York City judge has denied Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s plea for a review of the 2019 verdict that sentenced him to life imprisonment. Guzman, aged 66, headed the influential Sinaloa cartel, associated with numerous fatalities in Mexico over many years. Having escaped Mexican prisons on two occasions, he was eventually apprehended and extradited to the United States in January 2017.

As per Mail Online, the Mexican drug lord submitted habeas corpus petitions, legal actions employed to examine the legality of imprisonment, and requested legal representation for this appeal.

Judge Brian Cogan from the Eastern District of New York, who oversaw the high-profile trial in Brooklyn, dismissed the plea. Cogan stated in the ruling that this trial, which gained widespread attention, was arguably the most infamous criminal prosecution of the decade. The charges for which the petitioner was convicted could have led to the death penalty if not for the extradition terms.

The ruling rejects arguments that Guzman’s defense did not sufficiently explore a plea bargain and cites sealed evidence suggesting Guzman still controls up to billions of dollars in assets, even if they are not in his own name.

Cogan rejected the request for legal counsel, saying Guzman already had help from Mariel Colon Miro, a lawyer who has in recent years represented Guzman and his wife, Emma Coronel.

Coronel was sentenced in November 2021 to three years in a Californian prison for drug trafficking and money laundering. The 34-year-old was released in mid-September. 

Coronel, a former winner of a Mexican beauty pageant during her teenage years and the mother of Guzman’s twin daughters, was released under four years of court supervision.

Cogan also raised questions about the source of Guzman’s legal fees and why his wife, released from prison in September, has not been granted access to his assets.

Guzman is currently serving a life sentence in a Colorado prison referred to as the ‘Alcatraz of the Rockies,’ where inmates experience 23 hours of daily solitary confinement.

The Sinaloa cartel led by Guzman remains one of the two most dominant criminal organizations in the country, alongside its primary rival, the Jalisco New Generation cartel.

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