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August 22, 2019

El Chapo jurors wrap up first week of deliberations, signal disagreements over verdict

February 12, 2019
Drug trafficker Joaquin Guzman Loera, aka “El Chapo” (c.), is escorted by Mexican military as he’s presented to the press in February 2014 in Mexico City. (ALFREDO ESTRELLA / AFP/Getty Images)

The Brooklyn jury tasked with deciding whether or not to convict Mexican drug lord Joaquín (El Chapo) Guzmán Loera capped off one week of deliberations seemingly far from reaching a verdict.

Chapo, who sported a navy blue suit, striped blue tie, and a light blue shirt to his trial on Monday at federal court in Brooklyn, listened intently as an interpreter translated U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan’s reading of the latest round of questions presented by the jury.


“Does a violation have to be proven or not proven unanimously?” a note sent out at approximately 3 p.m. read.

The top count against Guzmán — leading a continuing criminal enterprise (CCE) — contains 27 violations that include murder conspiracy and charges related to international distribution of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana.

To find Chapo guilty of CCE, which carries a mandatory sentence of life without parole, they must unanimously find him guilty of at least three violations included in the count.

Monday’s notes suggested the jury could be having difficulty agreeing on some of the top charges listed in the lengthy verdict sheet.

Specifically, jurors also asked Monday to hear testimony from former DEA Agent Scott Schoonover, who took the stand in early December to testify about four cocaine shipments seized between 2004 and 2008.

The court also provided jurors with testimony from U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant Clifton Harrison, who testified about three of the same cocaine seizures during the trial.

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The jury will return to court Tuesday to resume deliberations.

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