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El Chapo Is in Prison, but Mexican Drug Cartels Are Still Thriving

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The infamous Mexican drug lord Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera–aka “El Chapo”–has been sentenced to life plus an additional 30 years for drug trafficking, conspiracy, money laundering, and weapons charges, among other crimes committed over the past quarter-century as head of Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel, the Western Hemisphere’s most powerful organized crime syndicate.

Judge Brian Cogan also ordered Guzmán–who was convicted in United States federal court in February after a dramatic three-month trial–to forfeit $12.6 billion in illicit narcotics proceeds.

U.S. officials celebrated El Chapo’s demise as a triumph in the war on drugs. President Donald Trump has taken an aggressive stance on Mexican drug cartels, vowing at his January of 2017 inauguration to stop “the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives.”

“This sentencing shows the world that no matter how protected or powerful you are, DEA will ensure that you face justice,” said the acting administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Uttam Dhillon, at Guzmán’s sentencing.

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