El Chapo faces life in prison

  • 21/01/2017
Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman (Reuters)
Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman (Reuters)

Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman will spend the rest of his life in a US prison if convicted on charges he ran the world's largest drug-trafficking organisation during a decades-long criminal career.

El Chapo (Shorty), once one of the world's most wanted drug lords, was set to appear in federal court in Brooklyn to be arraigned on 17 criminal counts, a day after his surprise extradition from Mexico.

The charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison, Robert Capers, US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said at a news conference.

"Who is Chapo Guzman? In short, he's a man known for no other life but a life of crime, violence, death and destruction, and now he'll have to answer to that," Capers said.

Guzman, 59, arrived in a small jet at Long Island's MacArthur Airport after nightfall on Thursday from a prison in the city of Juarez in the northern state of Chihuahua, where his Sinaloa cartel rules.

A few hours earlier, he was bundled out of the Mexican cell block with his hands cuffed above his bowed head, Mexican television footage showed.

Guzman is charged in six separate US indictments. He is accused of money laundering and drug trafficking, kidnapping and murder in Chicago, Miami, New York and other cities.

Calling him "the most notorious drug trafficker in the world", US prosecutors said in court papers that Guzman "vigorously fought his extradition to the United States up until the moment" that it was ordered on Thursday.