He is one of the world’s most notorious criminals. Most people in Salt Lake City may not be familiar with the name Joaquin Guzman. But they definitely know his nickname–”El Chapo”. The drug lord’s infamous prison escapes have made him a legend in Mexico. But soon, he will stand trial in a Brooklyn courtroom on charges of conspiracy and drug charges. Guzman is facing a 17-count federal indictment in connection with a drug empire he operated from 1989 to 2014, which alleges corruption, murder, distribution of firearms, money laundering and drug distribution. The charges carry a minimum sentence of life in prison along with a $14 billion criminal forfeiture to the federal government.
Donald Trump’s Possible Role
It is no secret President Donald Trump made Mexico a big issue during his campaign. He promised everything from tougher immigration laws and the deportation of criminals to building a massive wall to secure the border. Although El Chapo’s extradition to the United States comes as a surprise to some, the timing is very interesting. Mexican authorities turned over Guzman to U.S. authorities just one day before Trump’s inauguration. However, Mexican officials deny it had anything to do with Trump. The country’s deputy attorney general Alberto Elias Beltran said El Chapo’s extradition was the result of fulfilling a request made by the U.S. government based on terms from an international treaty between the two nations.
The Legend of El Chapo
Joaquin Guzman’s reputation for great escapes goes all the way back to 1993 when he was arrested in Guatemala and extradited to Mexico. Since that time, El Chapo has always managed to stay one step ahead of the law, including multiple escapes from prison. He was most recently recaptured in 2016 after escaping a Mexican prison and evading authorities for six months. El Chapo used a sophisticated tunnel system to not only escape, but to also transport massive quantities of drugs. He once escaped from a Mexican prison in 2001 by using just a laundry cart. In 2014, he crawled through an opening of the prison’s shower system, which led to a tunnel nearly a mile long.
The Mexican Drug Trade and Its Impact in Utah
The Mexican drug trade has made its impact into Utah and many other areas of the United States. The trafficking of marijuana, heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine from Mexico is part of a $20 billion industry according to the Department of Homeland Security. It has even impacted the increase of drug crimes in Salt Lake City. But sometimes innocent people can get caught in the middle. Not everyone who faces drug charges is guilty.
Some of the most common drug crimes in Salt Lake City include possession, which may not belong to the suspect. In some of these cases, police may discover drugs in a person’s car that does not belong to them.
Do Not Fight Drug Crime Charges Alone
Utah has some of the strictest drug crime laws in the nation. If you are arrested for possession or distribution of illegal narcotics, you could face significant jail time. It is important to fight these charges as quickly and aggressively as possible. For more than 25 years, Salt Lake City drug crimes attorney David Paul White has defended countless men and women accused of a variety of drug charges. He understands the obstacles and challenges each client faces during this difficult time. The selection of a criminal defense lawyer can often make the difference between losing or maintain your freedom. If you have been charged with a drug crime, contact the Law Offices of David Paul White & Associates and schedule a consultation to discuss your case.