Things That Matter

Days After Getting Life In Prison, Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán Has Filed An Appeal

A lawyer for convicted drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán filed an appeal against his client’s life sentence the day after it was handed down, court documents published Monday show. The 62-year-old, who was the former co-leader of Mexico’s feared Sinaloa drug cartel, was convicted in February of smuggling large amounts of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana into the United States.

Guzman’s defense lawyer, Marc Fernich, filed the notice of appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit with hopes that his client will get another chance at a trial. But according to news reports, the appeal process could take months to a year to be completed. 

Will El Chapo’s grounds for an appeal actually be successful?

Credit: @AFP / Twitter

Guzman has already been sentenced to life in prison and sent to a federal maximum security prison in Colorado, which is nicknamed the “Alcatraz of the Rockies.” An additional 30 years were added to Guzman’s sentence and he was also ordered to pay $12.6 billion in forfeiture, the amount was based on a conservative estimate of revenues from his cartel’s sales in the U.S.

But after an expected appeal, Guzman will now have to wait. How long? That could take up to a year, according to the AFP. During his sentencing, Guzman claimed that he had received an unfair trial due to juror misconduct. This is referring to a story that claimed several members of the jury violated a court order by looking at social media and various news pieces about the high profile court trial. 

“I was extradited to the US to have a fair trial, where justice would be blind to my fame and would not be a defining factor in the administration of justice,” Guzman said during his sentencing. “But what happened was actually the opposite.”

According to his lawyer, El Chapo has a “strong issues for appeal.”

Credit: @Keegan_hamilton / Twitter

While the odds of Guzman winning an appeal appear to be steep, his defense team is confident that they have a good chance at overturning the conviction. “Guzman has strong issues for appeal. We’ll fight to overturn his conviction and are confident we’ll prevail,” Fernich told the AFP

Another defense lawyer for Guzman said last week the trial was unjust due to various jurors violating the judge’s orders by following the case in the media.  Jeffrey Lichtman is asking to for a fair trial on behalf of Guzman that isn’t influenced by outside voices that would affect the way his client is viewed. 

“All we had asked for is a fair trial. I’m not here to tell you that Joaquín Guzmán is a saint . . . Whatever you think of Joaquín Guzmán, he still deserves a fair trial, everybody does in America . . .” Lichtman told the AFP.

Guzman has gone on the record claiming that the conditions he’s been placed in since he was extradited from Mexico to the United States in January 2017, have been unfair from the start. 

Credit: @amandaottaway / Twitter

Besides the trial itself, Guzman claims there was “no justice” in his case from the start due to the media sensationalism and high-profile figures involved. He’s also described his incarceration in the U.S. a “psychological, emotional, mental torture 24 hours a day.”

The former drug lord of the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel said the U.S. lacks justice and is smeared with corruptness, like other countries. During his sentencing hearing, Guzman said his human rights were violated and had been put in horrible jail conditions that he described as “torturous”. He claims he was unable to sleep well, had trouble breathing and was not allowed to see his wife or daughters.

“I’ve been forced to drink unsanitary water. I’ve been denied access to fresh air and sunlight. The only air I have in my cell comes through in the air vent,” Guzman said. ““It has been physical, emotional and mental torture.”

Many were angry at Guzman’s comments citing the hundreds of lives he’s endangered and were cut short due to his reign over the Mexico drug cartel business. It’s safe to say this won’t be the last time we hear from Guzman as he heads to federal prison for what many hope is his last stop. 

READ: Mexico’s President AMLO Says That ‘El Chapo’ Should Of Got A Different Sentence, Not Life In Prison

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North Carolina Spanish Teacher Dies In Shootout With Mexican Cartel

Things That Matter

North Carolina Spanish Teacher Dies In Shootout With Mexican Cartel

A beloved Spanish teacher at a North Carolina school was killed in a shootout with a Mexican cartel. The Spanish teacher and coach was popular among students, faculty, and staff and lived by the motto “All Love…No Fear.”

Coach Barney Harris was beloved at the Union Academy Charter School.

Harris’ death stunned the community and the school’s social media lit up with memorials and remembrances of the teacher. Students responded with notes honoring the coach. Yet, the varsity basketball and track coach for the Charlotte-area charter school was hiding a secret that quickly came to light shortly after his death.

As students, faculty, and staff expressed sorrow for his sudden death, details emerged that changed the narrative. Turns out that Harris was killed in a gunfight with a Mexican cartel. Authorities in North Carolina revealed that Harris’ body was found in a mobile home in Alamance County, where he allegedly met with drug runner Alonso Beltran Lara.

The details of Harris’ death have shocked more than his community.

The school’s social media pages quickly deleted tribute posts to the Spanish teacher when the details were revealed. Authorities were cautious with releasing the information to make sure that the facts were verified.

“I can tell you this right now. When we are dealing with the Mexican drug cartel, somebody’s probably going to die as a result of this right here, somewhere else. And we did not want to put it out there until we could get a good grip of what’s going on here,” Sheriff Terry Johnson told WCNC.

According to authorities, it is believed that Harris, along with his brother-in-law, killed a drug runner for the cartel and a gunfight ensued. Harris was killed during the shootout.

According to authorities, the two interstates, Interstate 85 and Interstate 40, have created a well-used corridor for moving money and drugs for the cartels.

Authorities seized five firearms, about $7,000 in cash, and 1.2 kilograms of suspected cocaine from the scene. No other people in the mobile home park were injured.

READ: It’s No Surprise El Chapo’s Wife Is In Jail, Her TikTok Was A Look Inside #CartelLife

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Ecuadorian Sisters, 3 And 5, Dropped By Smugglers From 14 Ft High Mexico-US Border Wall

Things That Matter

Ecuadorian Sisters, 3 And 5, Dropped By Smugglers From 14 Ft High Mexico-US Border Wall

A recent video shared by a border patrol agent highlighted a shocking moment of smugglers literally dropping two little girls over a 14-foot high fence in the New Mexico desert. Right in the dead of night.

In the disturbing video, the smugglers can be seen climbing the fence and then dropping the two 5-year-old and 3-year-old sisters to the ground.

El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez shared that the incident occurred “miles from the nearest residence.”

The two little girls (Yareli, 3, and Yasmina, 5) were rescued after agents spotted them during a virtual surveillance sweep. The two sisters are from Ecuador and were dumped by human smugglers at the border wall according to an official.

“[US Immigration officials] need to verify the identity of the parents and confirm they are the parents and make sure they are in good condition to receive the girls,” Magdalena Nunez, of the Consulate of Ecuador in Houston, explained to The New York Post on Thursday. “It’s a process … We’re working to make sure it’s an expedited process and the girls spend as minimal time as possible separated from their parents.”

“Hopefully it can happen soon, in a week or two, but  it can take up to six weeks. We are working to make sure sure it happens as quickly as possible,” she explained before noting that the two sisters are “doing very well.”

“We have been in contact with them and confirmed they are in good health,” Nunez shared. “Physically, they are perfect — emotionally, obviously, they went through a hard time, but I guarantee you right now they are in good health and they are conversing. They are very alert, very intelligent.”

In a statement about the incident, the Ecuadorian consulate confirmed that the two girls had been in touch with their parents, who live in New York City.

“The Ecuadorian Consulate in Houston had a dialogue with the minors and found that they are in good health and that they contacted their parents, who currently live in New York City,” explained the consulate.

In a statement from the girls’ parents sent to Telemundo, the girls’ parents had left their daughters behind at their home in Jaboncillo, Ecuador, to travel to the US. The parents of the two girls have been identified as Yolanda Macas Tene and Diego Vacacela Aguilar. According to the New York Post, “The girls’ grandparents have asked President Biden to reunite the children with their parents. Aguilar paid a human smuggler to take his kids to the border — though the grandparents didn’t know how much they paid.”

“[The parents] wanted to be with them, their mother suffered a lot, for that reason they decided to take them,” paternal grandfather Lauro Vacacela explained in an interview with Univision.

It is still uncertain as to whether or not the girls’ parents are in the country legally.

Photos of the girls showed them having snacks with Agent Gloria Chavez.

“When I visited with these little girls, they were so loving and so talkative, some of them were asking the names of all the agents that were there around them, and they even said they were a little hungry,” Chavez told Fox News. “So I helped them peel a banana and open a juice box and just talked to them. You know, children are just so resilient and I’m so grateful that they’re not severely injured or [have] broken limbs or anything like that.”

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