Things That Matter

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

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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Viva Mexico Is Trending On Twitter Proving That Mexico Is More Than Just A Country

Culture

Viva Mexico Is Trending On Twitter Proving That Mexico Is More Than Just A Country

Carlos Vivas / Getty Images

It is Mexico’s Independence Day and that means that Mexicans around the world are honoring their roots. Twitter is buzzing with people who might not be in Mexico but they will forever have Mexico in their hearts. Here are just a few of the loving messages from people who are Mexican through and through.

Viva Mexico is trending on social media and the tweets are filled with love and passion for the country.

Mexico received its independence from Spain on September 16, 1810 and since then the day has been marked with celebration. The day is marked with parties of pride and culture no matter where you are in the world.

Mexicans everywhere are letting their Mexican flag fly.

Tbh, who doesn’t want to be Mexican to enjoy the day of puro pinche pride? The celebration for Mexican Independence Day starts on Sept. 15 with El Grito. The tradition is that the president of Mexico stands on the balcony on Sept. 15 at 11 p.m. and rings the same church bell that Roman Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang in 1810 to trigger the Mexican Revolution.

People are loving all of the celebrations for their homeland.

The original El Grito took place in Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato in 1810. While most El Grito celebrations take place at the National Palace, some presidents, especially on their last year, celebrate El Grito in the town where it originated.

Honestly, no one celebrates their independence day like Mexico and we love them for it.

¡Viva Mexico! Mexico lindo y querido. How are you celebrating the Mexican Independence Day this year? Show us what you have planned.

READ: Many Mexicans Are Calling Out Fragile Masculinity As Some Continue To Protest A Controversial Zapata Painting

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Volunteer Firefighters From Mexico Went to Oregon to Help Their “Sister City” Contain the Unprecedented Fires

Things That Matter

Volunteer Firefighters From Mexico Went to Oregon to Help Their “Sister City” Contain the Unprecedented Fires

Just when you thought humanity has failed us, someone steps up and shows the world that the generosity of the human spirit is alive and well. 

Last week, a post on Reddit went viral of a group of volunteer firefighters from Guanajuato, Mexico who traveled to the city of Ashland, Oregon to help fight the wildfires that are blazing across the western state.

The fire department is called Heroico Cuerpo de Bomberos Voluntarios, the Heroic Volunteer Fire Department, in English.

The two towns have had a “sister city” relationship for over 50 years. Sister-city relationships are meant to “promote peace and understanding through exchanges that focus on arts and culture, youth and education, business and trade, and community development”.

The internet swiftly erupted into comments praising the volunteer firefighters for their bravery and comradery. “Mexico also sent relief during Katrina. Mexico and Canada are our best allies, always there for us regardless of the politics,” one commenter said. Another chimed in: “Welcome to Oregon, amigos. Mantenga una bota en el quemado.”

The troop of men who traveled from Mexico to the United States were identified as Captain Aldo Iván Ruiz, Captain Juan Armando Alvarez Villegas, Sargent Jorge Luis Anguiano Jasso, Sargent Luis Alfonso Campos Martínez and Miguel Ángel Hernández Lara. They were accompanied by the mayor of Guanajuato, Alejandro Navarro.

“We began the relief work,” Navarro wrote on Twitter. “Very moved by the terrible impact of the fire on families and their homes.”

The Oregon wildfires are just one of the many that are blazing down the West Coast of the United States, taking people’s homes, land, and sometimes, their lives. In more than 1 million acres have burned and two dozen fires are still raging.

“Almost every year since becoming governor, I’ve witnessed historic fire seasons,” Oregon Governor Kate Brown recently said at a press conference. “Yet this is proving to be an unprecedented and significant fire event for our state.”

Experts are hypothesizing that these unprecedented fires are further evidence of the toll man-made climate change is having on the environment. 

via Getty Images

“I can’t think of any time over the last 100 years where we’ve had serial fire outbreaks, four years running,” said fire historian Stephen Pyne to the Washington Post. “That I can find no record of happening before,” he added. “That is the big switch; that is the phase change.”

Regardless of what has caused the fires, the bravery of these firefighters is worth commendable. Their actions are further proof that borders cannot contain the universal values of kindness, altruism, and brotherhood.

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