Prosecutors ask for life in prison for El Chapo
Prosecutors on Wednesday submitted a memo asking for Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán to receive life in prison.
“The overwhelming evidence at trial showed that the defendant was a ruthless and bloodthirsty leader of the Sinaloa Cartel,” the filing said.
Guzmán’ was found guilty in February on all 10 federal criminal counts against him, including engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, conspiracy to launder narcotics proceeds, international distribution of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and other drugs, and use of firearms. Jurors also heard evidence that Guzmán ordered or personally took part in the murders and torture of about 26 people who were perceived enemies of the cartel.
The 62-year-old Guzmán is expected to be sentenced on July 17 by US District Judge Brian Cogan, who presided over Guzmán’s nearly three-month long trial earlier this year in Brooklyn.
The government asked Cogan to dismiss counts two, three and four, which are narcotics distribution conspiracy charges, “to avoid a potential double jeopardy issue.”
Prosecutors argue those counts should be dismissed because they encompass some of the same charges as count one, which is a “continuing criminal enterprise” charge. If Guzman wins an appeal, prosecutors say, they’d like the option to reinstate the narcotics distribution conspiracy counts and have him sentenced on those.
Conviction of the top charge of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise carries a mandatory term of life in prison.
Jeffrey Lichtman, an attorney for Guzmán, said his team expected the life sentence recommendation from prosecutors.
“No surprises. Mr. Guzmán faces a mandatory life sentence,” Lichtman told CNN Wednesday.
Last week, prosecutors asked the judge to order Guzmán to pay a criminal forfeiture of about $12.7 billion to the US government.
“As for restitution, it’s a fiction much like the $12.7 billion forfeiture request: the government has not located a penny of his assets,” Lichtman said.
Earlier this month, a federal judge denied the defense requests for a new trial or an evidentiary hearing to determine juror misconduct.