El Chapo tearful in footage released after conviction for running multibillion-dollar drug empire

Samuel Osborne

Footage has emerged of Mexican drug lord El Chapo in tears as he arrived in the US following his arrest in 2017.

The 61-year-old, whose real name is Joaquin Guzman, was convicted on Tuesday of running a major criminal enterprise smuggling drugs worth billions of dollars into the US.

In the wake of his conviction, the US Justice Department released a video showing him staring blankly out of an aeroplane window, before wiping away a tear upon disembarking.

He is likely to be held behind bars for decades in a maximum-security US prison, selected especially to thwart another one of the breakouts which made him a folk hero in Mexico.

A jury whose members’ identities were kept secret as a security measure reached a verdict after six days of deliberations.

They sorted through what authorities called an “avalanche” of evidence gathered since the late 1980s that Guzman and his murderous Sinaloa drug cartel made billions by smuggling tonnes of cocaine, heroin, crystal meth and marijuana into the US.

As the judge read the verdict, he stared at the jury, and his wife looked on, both with resignation in their faces. When the jurors were discharged and Guzman stood to leave the courtroom, the couple gave each other a thumbs-up.

The defence case lasted just half an hour. Guzman’s lawyers did not deny his crimes, but argued he was a fall guy for government witnesses who were more evil than he was.

In closing arguments, defence lawyer Jeffrey Lichtman urged the jury not to believe government witnesses who “lie, steal, cheat, deal drugs and kill people”.

Mr Lichtman said the defence “fought like complete savages” and will appeal against the verdict. “No matter who the defendant is, you still have to fight to the death.”

He said his client was a positive thinker who “doesn’t give up”.

Upon hearing the verdict, Guzman was “as cool as a cucumber,” Mr Lichtman added. “Honest to God, we were more upset than he was.”

He will be sentenced on 25 June.

Additional reporting by Reuters