Fate of Mexican Drug Lord El Chapo Now Rests With U.S. Jury

NEW YORK (AP) -

After nearly three months of testimony about a vast drug-smuggling conspiracy steeped in violence, a jury began deliberations Monday at the U.S. trial of the infamous Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

The day ended without jurors reaching a verdict for Guzman, who faces life in prison if convicted. They were to resume deliberations Tuesday morning.

The jury has heard months of testimony about Guzman’s rise to power as the head of the Sinaloa cartel. Prosecutors say he is responsible for smuggling at least 200 tons of drugs into the United States and for a wave of killings in turf wars with other cartels.

Guzman, 61, is notorious for escaping from prison twice in Mexico. In closing arguments, prosecutor Andrea Goldbarg said he was plotting yet another breakout when was he was sent in 2017 to the U.S., where he has been in solitary confinement ever since.

The defense claims Guzman’s role has been exaggerated by cooperating witnesses who are seeking leniency in their own cases.

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, while on a visit to New York City, stopped by the courtroom, with the jury not present, to thank the government’s trial team.