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Federal Jury Finds Drug Lord ‘El Chapo’ Guilty On All 10 Counts, Faces Life In Prison

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A federal jury on Tuesday found Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera guilty after a three-month trial that exposed the crime-ridden inner workings of the Mexican drug lord. Guzman, 61, now faces the possibility of life in prison after jurors in New York convicted the former leader of Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel of drug trafficking, weapons charges and operating a criminal organization. The verdict is a culmination of decades in being regarded as a folk hero in Mexico that was notorious for his prison escapes and murder operations against competitors.

As the jury read out the verdict, there was no visible reaction from El Chapo who now faces life in prison.

A panel of eight women and four men, who served in anonymity, delivered the verdict on the sixth day of deliberations. Judge Brian M. Cogan read the jury’s charge list in an open court with 10 straight guilty verdicts on all 10 counts of the indictment. As the verdict was being read, the courtroom fell silent as Guzman showed no emotions to hearing the jury’s decision. Guzman, who escaped a Mexican prison twice, is due to be sentenced on June 25. U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Richard Donoghue told reporters the significance of the verdict.

“It is a sentence from which there is no escape, and no return,” Donoghue said during a press conference. “This conviction is a victory for the American people, who have suffered so long and so much while Guzman made billions pouring poison over our southern border.”

The trial shed light on one of the world’s most notorious crime lords.

The trial wasn’t only stunning in who was being put on trial but the circumstances were attention-grabbing. From the start, there was high media scrutiny and extensive security measures for the trial. Prosecutors called upon 56 witnesses, 14 of them who were former associates of Guzman, who cooperated with government officials in hope of gaining leniency on their own crimes. Allegations of bribery with the former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, accusations of underage rape and revealing testimonies only heightened the attention of the trial.

The trial revealed the truly shocking nature and the rise of what quickly became on the world’s most dangerous drug organizations, the Sinaloa cartel. The cartel would make millions of dollars by smuggling cocaine and heroin to cities across the U.S from the late 1980s into the 2000s. Guzman would rise to fame overnight for his peculiar ways of transporting drugs through cars, planes, and tunnels under the U.S.-Mexican border.

Even if El Chapo is behind bars, the Sinaloa Cartel is still a force in the deadly drug wars in Mexico.

The drug war in Mexico, which killed about 100,000 people over more than a decade, has pitted the cartels against each other. The long fighting has led to countless deaths of innocent civilians and tourists in Mexico. While the verdict of Guzman is a pivotal moment in the longstanding fight against the U.S and drug trafficking, the Sinaloa Cartel still has the biggest U.S. distribution presence.

According to Reuters, drug seizures at the U.S. southern border have only increased to more than nine times in volume, to at least 82,000 pounds this past year. This highlights the growing dangers and reality of the ongoing drug war happening in Mexico even without Guzman at the helm. Next at the helm of the Sinaloa Cartel is Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, Guzman’s long-standing partner who is believed to have taken over operations since Guzman’s capture in 2016.

Yet, there is solace and progress in having what was one of the most sought after criminals in the world finally behind bars. For many families whose loved one were killed, this day brings some justice and closure.

“Today is a historic day for American justice,” Ángel Meléndez, special agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigations, told the New York Times. “Today we say American justice has been served, ending his days of evading authorities, ending his violent acts all in support of his efforts to conduct drug trafficking in the United States.”


READ: 21 Interesting Things You Didn’t Know About El Chapo

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Here Are Some Of The Most Important Afro-Latino Figures Who Have Changed And Are Changing The World

things that matter

Here Are Some Of The Most Important Afro-Latino Figures Who Have Changed And Are Changing The World

@zabalaaldia / @PoseOnFX / Twitter

This Black History Month, we celebrate every single Black person who has created more space for the generations behind them. From Rosa Parks to Martin Luther King Jr., the country’s effort to focus on Black contributions and civil rights history is something, but it’s not everything.

Many people in the Latino community still willfully ignore the contributions made by Afro-Latinos. Sometimes the mere emphasis on their true identity is what has paved the way for their existence to be celebrated in the Latino community. Here are some Afro-Latinos who have made waves and paved ways for other people who exist in the duality of being Black and Latino.

Celia Cruz

@celiacruzonline / Instagram

Cuban legend Celia Cruz is probably the most famous Afro-Latino of the world. She received the National Medal of Arts from Bill Clinton in 1994 for her contribution in spreading the sounds of salsa music to the U.S. and the world.

Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez

@marsrader / Twitter

Méndez is the first person of African heritage to travel into space. He was born in Cuba and orphaned as an infant and went from shining shoes to traveling in Earth’s orbit. That’s something to be proud of.

Adriano Espaillat

@zabalaaldia / Twitter

Espaillat is the first formerly undocumented immigrant to ever serve in Congress. The Dominican-American now serves as the U.S. Representative for New York’s 13th Congressional District and is an unwavering champion of immigrant rights in the process.

Amara La Negra

@amaraln / Instagram

Amara La Negra brought the topic of Afro-Latinidad to public discourse after Young Hollywood criticized her afro during a business meeting on “Love & Hip Hop: Miami.” You can tell from the Dominicana’s stage name that she’s fiercely Afro-Latina. She is forcing us to have conversations about accepting Black identity withint hte Latino community.

MJ Rodriguez

@PoseOnFX / Twitter

She’s the first trans Afro-Latina starring actress to be on a television series drama, and she’s crushing it. The Puerto Rican star has skyrocketed to fame playing Blanca Evangelista on FX’s “Pose” and her star is not coming down any time soon.

Roberto Clemente

@JohnDreker / Twitter

Roberto Clemente is a Puerto Rican legend. Clemente was the first Latin American and Caribbean player to be enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and is remembered for his tireless and selfless commitment to helping the world. He died in a plane crash while taking supplies to Nicaragua following a devastating earthquake.

Arturo Alfonso Schomburg

@aimeeesq / Twitter

Schomburg was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico in 1874 to a freed slave, Mary Joseph Alfonso and Carlos Schomburg, a German merchant living in Puerto Rico. When Schomburg was in elementary school, one of his teachers claimed that Black people had no history, heroes or accomplishments. He became determined to prove her wrong and went on to become a Black historian and major intellectual figure during the Harlem Renaissance. Today, The New York Public Library Harlem branch has an entire Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, made up of his own collection of slave narratives and other books.

Felipe Luciano

@aprilRsilver / Twitter

Luciano was the founder of the Young Lords New York Branch (which was like the Puerto Rican version of the Black Panther Party). He’s also known for his poetry and his membership in the Original Last Poets.

José Celso Barbosa

@blackarcheology / Twitter

Barbosa was the first Afro-Latino to earn a medical degree in the United States. After accomplishing that major feat, he went on to join the first Puerto Rican Senate and advocated for statehood.

Soledad O’Brien

@soledadobrien / Twitter

O’Brien has become one of the top names in journalism with a slew of awards and her own show to prove it. The ACLU asked O’Brien’s parents, an Afro-Cubana and Australian, to be the couple that would test the ban on interracial marriage. Her parents had to marry in D.C. where the laws were less restrictive at the time.

Gwen Ifill

@michele_norris / Twitter

Ifill was one of the first Black women to host a national public affairs program in the United States and the first to moderate a vice presidential debate. The Panamanian journalist paved the way for many others and Afro-Latino journalists today have Ifill to thank for the path she blazed.

Princess Nokia

@princessnokia / Instagram

Puerto Rican artist Princess Nokia is known for rapping her feminist agenda with no apology. She’s speaking truth to words in a way that is uniquely relatable to Afro-Latinas. She is not holding back when she stands up for herself anf her fellow Afro-Latinas.

Judy Reyes

@itisijudyreyes1 / Instagram

While we mostly think of current icons, Amara La Negra and Cardi B, actress Judy Reyes has been paving the way for much longer.

“I would get really positive reactions at auditions for both African-American and Latino parts. But, I didn’t look Latino enough because of the curly hair, and the freckles, and the nose and all that stuff,” she told NBCUniverso.

Sylvia del Villard

@blogdiva / Twitter

San Juan-born Sylvia de Villard grew up around dance, but it wasn’t until she moved to NYC where she committed her life to it. She joined the ballet group Africa House and went on to create the Afro-Boricua El Coqui Theater.

Julia de Burgos

@gaychickendad / Twitter

Burgos is a Puerto Rican poet and journalist who’s known for her work in the women’s branch of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party. The celebration of her blackness has influenced many Afro-Caribbean writers that have come after her. Her lasting legacy is something to be admired.

Miriam Jiménez Román

@LatinaRAS / Twitter

Jiménez is one of the foremost leading thinkers on Afro-Latinos in the U.S., known for her book “The Afro-Latin@ Reader: History and Culture in the United States.” She’s helped create space for Black Puerto Ricans and Afro-Latinos like her and she’s not slowing down.

Laz Alonso

@MeettheBlacks / Twitter

“You’re not one or the other. You’re both. And you should be proud to be both and not be embarrassed or ashamed of it. There’s nothing to be ashamed of,” Alonso said in the NBCUniverso documentary “Black and Latino.”

Piri Thomas

@REMEZCLA / Twitter

Thomas paved a path for Afro-Latino voices with his memoir “Down These Mean Streets.” His life is as full as it is nuanced, with a nine-year stint in prison, feeling neglected by his father for his lighter-skinned siblings, and eventually becoming a community organizer for Afro-Latino youth in Harlem. The Cuban-Puerto Rican poet is a legend.

Breena Nuñez Peralta

@theafrolatindiaspora / Twitter

Afro-Salvadorian-Guatemalan cartoonist Peralta is working to draw Afro-Latinos into existence via cartoons. She’s creating space for young Afro-Latinxs to see themselves as heroes, which makes her our hero.


READ: From Maxwell To Cardi B, These Afro-Latinos Are A Driving Force In The Music Industry Today

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