Life sentence for El Chapo's drug trafficking crimes upheld by New York federal court

Attorneys for the former head of the Sinaloa cartel had argued the jury at his original trial was biased

Updated: January 25, 2022 - 3:16pm

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A New York federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld the conviction of cartel kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman on charges of running a multi-billion-dollar drug trafficking operation.

A three-judge panel for the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a number of arguments presented by El Chapo's legal team in an effort to overturn his conviction.

Last October, one of the drug lord's attorneys, Marc Fernich, argued that a the panel should overturn the conviction because a member of the jury had spoken to Vice News and told the outlet that other jury members had followed media coverage of the trial, which was forbidden.

The judges wrote, however, that any coverage the jury was exposed to was "harmless in view of the overwhelming evidence of Guzman’s guilt that was presented at his three-month-long trial." 

The panel also wrote: "None of the allegations in the VICE News article shows that any juror was not impartial, harbored bias against Guzman, or was otherwise unfit to serve."

In 2019, El Chapo was sentenced to life in prison following a conviction in a Brooklyn federal court on charges related to massive-scale drug trafficking of which he was in charge as the head of the infamous Sinaloa Cartel.