US Says 'Avalanche of Evidence' Will Convict Drug Kingpin El Chapo

Court sketch depicts Joaquin

Court sketch depicts Joaquin"El Chapo Guzman seen in federal court in Brooklyn on Wed. Jan. 30 2019. Christine Cornell

U.S. prosecutors urged jurors to "use common sense" when deciding whether to convict Mexican drug boss Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman as they presented their closing arguments on Wednesday.

Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman orchestrated a two-decade campaign to flood the United States with tons of cocaine as a ruthless leader of the Sinaloa cartel, a prosecutor has told Guzman's U.S. trial.

"Do not let him escape responsibility", she urged the jurors. "All this evidence shows the defendant is guilty of the counts".

The arguments came at a trial where Guzman is facing multiple drug and murder conspiracy charges that could land him in prison for life if he's convicted.

However, she said, their testimony was corroborated by intercepted phone calls, text messages and letters from Guzman, as well as accounting ledgers seized in a raid on one of his safe houses.

"We've presented an avalanche of evidence", Goldbarg told the 12 members of the jury under the watchful eyes of 61-year-old Guzman, dressed in a dark suit, and his ex-beauty queen wife Emma Coronel.

Guzman was captured and extradited to the United States two years ago after his dramatic escape from Mexican prisons.

NARCOS. Emma Coronel Aispuro, the wife of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, arrives at the US Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn on January 30, 2019 in NY.

"Why did he escape?"

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"He's the one who decides who lives and who dies", Goldbarg said. "He wanted to avoid sitting right there, in front of you".

U.S. Attorney Andrea Goldbarg displayed some of that apparent evidence to the jury Wednesday, including rifles, a bulletproof vest and a brick of cocaine.

The defendant, who knew he had been named in a US indictment, had his Sinaloa cartel dig a mile-long (1.6-kilometer-long) tunnel to break him out a Mexican prison in 2014, a stunt showing "just how badly he wanted to avoid being here today", she added.

"The cartel's engines were corruption and violence", she said. His goal was to distribute as much drugs as possible to the United States.

As she spoke, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced that he was ending the years-long military campaign against the drug cartels, and that prosecuting kingpins was no longer a priority for his government.

Goldbarg's summation capped an exhaustive government case that spanned 10 weeks of testimony from more than 50 witnesses, including law enforcement officials and former associates of Guzman who are cooperating with the USA government after striking plea deals.

"This is the defendant running his empire", Goldbarg said.

One of Guzman's lawyers, Jeffrey Lichtman, claimed in his opening statement that the cartel's real leader is Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, who remains at large.

As he listened to the prosecutor, Guzman took notes and even smiled at one point. Closing arguments are expected to begin on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019 in Guzman's drug trafficking trial in NY. The jury could then begin deliberations on Friday.

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