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Mexican drug lord, El Chapo has his life sentence appeal rejected by US judge

A judge in New York City has rejected a request from Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman to review the 2019 ruling that sentenced him to life in prison.

Guzman, 66, led the powerful Sinaloa cartel that is blamed for thousands of deaths in Mexico for decades. He escaped from Mexican prisons twice and was finally captured and handed over to the United States in January 2017.

According to Mail Online, the Mexican drug lord had filed habeas corpus petitions, civil suits used to assess whether imprisonment is lawful and asked for legal representation in this appeal.

But Judge Brian Cogan, of the Eastern District of New York – who presided over his headline-grabbing trial in Brooklyn rejected the request. 

This was perhaps the most notorious criminal prosecution of the decade, and the charges of which petitioner was convicted could well have resulted in the death penalty but for the terms of his extradition,’ wrote Cogan in the ruling denying the petition.

The ruling rejects arguments that Guzman’s defense did not sufficiently explore a plea bargain and cites sealed evidence suggesting Guzman still controls up to billions of dollars in assets, even if they are not in his own name.

Cogan rejected the request for legal counsel, saying Guzman already had help from Mariel Colon Miro, a lawyer who has in recent years represented Guzman and his wife, Emma Coronel.

Coronel was sentenced in November 2021 to three years in a Californian prison for drug trafficking and money laundering. The 34-year-old was released in mid-September. 

Coronel, a former teenage beauty pageant queen in Mexico and mother of Guzman’s twin daughters, was freed with four years of court supervision.

Cogan also questioned where Guzman had obtained the funds to pay his lawyers and why his wife, released from prison in September has not had access to his assets.

Guzman is serving a life sentence in a Colorado prison known as the ‘Alcatraz of the Rockies,’ where prisoners are kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours per day.

Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel remains one of the country’s two most powerful criminal organizations, alongside its main rival, the Jalisco New Generation cartel.

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