Jurors weighing fate of El Chapo ask to review testimony
The jury in the federal trial of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman deliberated for a second day on Tuesday and submitted requests to the judge to review some of the testimony.
The seven women and five men conferring at a federal court in the New York City borough of Brooklyn sent several notes to US District Judge Brian Cogan, who presided over the 11-week trial of the reputed Sinaloa Cartel boss.
Jurors initially asked for the testimony from Colombian brothers Alex and Jorge Cifuentes to be read back to them.
Cogan responded that an aural presentation could take between three and five days and that the jury could be given transcripts of part of the testimony from the two former drug traffickers.
Furthermore, the jury asked the magistrate to provide them with an audio recording of a telephone conversation in which Guzman mentions the word “ice,” which refers to a type of methamphetamine.
Another request concerned the evidence given by Reinaldo Zambada, brother of Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, who is thought to be running the cartel now.
Reinaldo told the court that between 2004 and 2005 he met someone he knew only by the nickname “Chespiro” and who asked him for legal support to import between 15 and 20 tons of ephedrine from Asian countries.
Ephedrine, a common ingredient in cold and allergy medicines, is used to make methamphetamine, one of the drugs Chapo is accused of smuggling into the United States.
The jurors asked Cogan on Monday whether ephedrine is the same as methamphetamine, but the judge declined to provide any additional information from what was presented during the trial.
Chapo faces life in prison if convicted on the most serious charges.
The prosecution alleges that Guzman oversaw the smuggling of thousands of tons of drugs into the United States, laundered massive sums of money through US financial institutions and ordered dozens of murders.
The 61-year-old Guzman, who twice escaped from maximum-security prisons in Mexico, was captured in January 2016 in Los Mochis, Sinaloa state, in January 2016 and extradited to the United States on Jan. 19, 2017.
Chapo amassed substantial wealth that led to his name regularly appearing on Forbes magazine’s list of global billionaires and the court in Brooklyn heard testimony from one of Guzman’s closest aides that he made a $100 million payoff to former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, who denied the claim.