Violent, colorful drug lord ‘El Chapo’ convicted in U.S. court

admin   •   February 13, 2019   •   3106

Sketch of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in court on February 12, 2019 | Jane Rosenberg sketches via Reuters

The world’s most infamous cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who rose from poverty in rural Mexico to amass billions of dollars, was found guilty in a U.S. court on Tuesday (February 12) of smuggling tons of drugs to the United States over a violent, colorful, decades-long career.

Jurors in federal court in Brooklyn convicted Guzman, 61, head of the Sinaloa Cartel, on all 10 counts brought by U.S. prosecutors.

Richard Donoghue, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said he expected Guzman to receive life without parole when sentenced on June 25. “It is a sentence from which there is no escape and no return,” Donoghue told reporters.

More than 250,000 homicides have been registered in Mexico since the government launched an aggressive war on cartels in 2006, during which Guzman and his exploits became almost legendary. About 150,000 of those deaths were tied to organized crime.

Guzman staged two dramatic escapes from Mexican high-security prisons and cultivated a Robin Hood image among the poor in his home state of Sinaloa.

Guzman sat and showed no emotion while the verdict was read. Once the jury left the room, he and his wife Emma Coronel, put their hands to their hearts and gave each other the thumbs up sign. His wife shed tears.

The 11-week trial, with testimony from more than 50 witnesses, offered an unprecedented look at the inner workings of the Sinaloa Cartel, named for the state in northwestern Mexico where Guzman was born in a poor mountain village. The U.S. government said Guzman trafficked tons of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine into the United States over more than two decades, consolidating his power in Mexico through murders and wars with rival cartels.

Guzman’s lawyers say he was set up as a “fall guy” by Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, a powerful drug lord from Sinaloa who remains at large.

Jeffrey Lichtman, a lawyer for Guzman, told reporters after the verdict that the defense faced an uphill fight, given the amount of evidence the government presented, and the widespread perception that Guzman was already guilty.

“Of course we’re going to appeal.”

Guzman, whose nickname means “Shorty,” was extradited to the United States for trial in 2017 after he was arrested in Mexico the year before.

Though other high-ranking cartel figures had been extradited previously, Guzman was the first to go to trial instead of pleading guilty. — Reuters

P100M worth of smuggled frozen agri-fishery products seized in Navotas City

Marje Pelayo   •   May 28, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines —  Authorities intercepted about P100-million worth of smuggled agri-fishery products at a vacant lot in Navotas City Thursday afternoon, May 27.

Specifically, elements of the Sub-Task Group on Economic Intelligence (STG-EI) under the Task Group on Food Security held the anti-smuggling operation along Guillermo Street, San Rafael Village in Navotas City.

The operation resulted in the seizure of 12 refrigerated container vans loaded with assorted frozen pork, beef, jumbo shrimp, eel, black chicken, crawfish, Peking duck, and dory fish fillet.

The shipments originated from Vietnam, China, Germany and Belgium based on the markings on the boxes.

The container vans were opened in the presence of the alleged caretaker identified as Gilbert Abanso who revealed that the said shipments were not covered by any documentation such as import permits and clearances.

The STG-EI is composed of members from the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), National Intelligence Coordinating Council (NICA), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Meanwhile, representatives of the Bureau and Animal Industry (BAI), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) are now conducting full inventory prior to the disposition of the said smuggled items.

Documentation and filing of appropriate charges against the owner of the shipment is underway.

Mexico wins Miss Universe 2020

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Andrea Meza of Mexico has been crowned as the 69th Miss Universe, besting 74 other contestants in the Miss Universe 2020 pageant at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, USA on Monday, Philippine time.

The first runner-up is Brazil’s Julia Gama followed by Peru’s Janick Maceta as second runner-up.  India’s Adline Castelino and Dominican Republic’s Kimberly Perez became third runner-up and fourth runner-up respectively.

During the question and answer, Miss Mexico focused on changing beauty standards.

“We live in a society that more and more is more than advanced, and as we advance as a society, we’ve also advanced with stereotypes,” she said. “Nowadays beauty isn’t only the way we look. For me, beauty radiates not only in our spirit, but in our hearts and the way that we conduct ourselves. Never permit someone to tell you that you’re not valuable.”

Andrea Meza has a degree in software engineering. She is also an activist, focused on women’s rights and inclusion. She has also been part of a global charity association raising funds in India, Indonesia and China for the downtrodden. Aside from being an activists she also practices crossfit and extreme sports. AAC

Customs destroys P50-million worth of smuggled cigarettes in Zamboanga

Robie de Guzman   •   April 15, 2021

 

Operatives from the Bureau of Customs (BOC)-Port of Zamboanga destroyed some P50 million worth of smuggled cigarettes in a warehouse in Barangay Baliwasan.

The BOC said the smuggled cigarettes destroyed on April 13 were seized in separate operations since December 2020.

The bureau, together with representatives from different partner agencies, destroyed more than 1,278 master cases and 513 reams of cigarettes.

The seized cigarettes were crushed by payloader equipment in an outdoor yard, soaked with used oil to prevent recycling, dispersed with water by firemen, and disposed of in the sanitary landfill in Brgy. Salaan, it added.

The destruction and disposal of cigarettes is reported to be the first condemnation activity of the Port for this year.

The condemnation ceremony was witnessed by the local government unit, heads of partner law enforcement agencies, a representative from the Commission on Audit, Department of Health, and stakeholders, the BOC said.

“The immediate destruction and disposal of such contrabands was a firm directive from Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero to promote transparency and remove doubts of corruption, theft, or pilferage in the agency,” it added.

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