Jury heads to 3rd day of deliberations in ‘El Chapo’ trial

Prosecution rests case against ‘El Chapo’
Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman

Jurors in the federal drug-conspiracy trial of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán concluded their second day of deliberations without a verdict Tuesday, at one point asking for the full testimony of two government cooperating witnesses.

The jury of eight women and four men was sent home after deliberating about seven hours in US District Court in Brooklyn, New York.

They had earlier asked federal Judge Brian Cogan for information that included a reading of testimony about Sinaloa cartel efforts to obtain ephedrine to produce methamphetamine as well as the testimony of brothers Alex and Jorge Cifuentes, a pair of drug trafficking associates from Colombia.

The partially sequestered and anonymous panel — which heard 200 hours of testimony from 56 witnesses during the 2½-month trial — has deliberated about 10 hours since Monday. The witness list at trial included 14 government cooperators, mostly former traffickers and cartel associates.

Defense lawyers have argued that the real Sinaloa cartel boss is Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, a longtime Guzmán associate now in his 70s. They claim Zambada bribed the Mexican government to frame Guzmán and remain free to run the cartel.

Guzmán, 61, faces 10 counts, including engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, conspiracy to launder narcotics proceeds, international distribution of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and other drugs, and use of firearms. He has pleaded not guilty.

He could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted on the top charge of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise.