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No verdict reached by 'El Chapo' jury after 3 days

Jurors in the drug trafficking trial of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera asked Wednesday for three new volumes of witness testimony, which could indicate an end is not in sight.

Eduardo Balarezo, center, attorney for Joaquin "El Chapo"

Eduardo Balarezo, center, attorney for Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera, arrives at federal courthouse in Brooklyn during jury deliberations in Guzman's trial on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Jurors in the drug trafficking trial of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera spent a third day of deliberations on Wednesday without agreeing on a verdict and asked for three new volumes of witness testimony that may signal an end is not around the corner.

Guzman, 61, is charged with leading Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel and smuggling an alleged $14 billion in cocaine into the United States, along with marijuana, methamphetamines, heroin and fentanyl. Over a 2½-month trial, prosecutors presented informant testimony from 14 of the accused kingpin’s former associates.

Since getting the case Monday, jurors have asked for full transcripts of testimony by five of those informants — Colombian drug supplier Jorge Cifuentes and his brother, Guzman aide Alex Cifuentes, ex-lieutenant Damaso Lopez, and cartel co-leader Mayo Zambada’s brother, Rey, and son, Vicente.

Along with the thick volumes of transcripts from each of those witnesses, the anonymous panel has asked several legal questions about parts of Guzman’s 10-count indictment that involve alleged distribution of methamphetamines, use of firearms in drug trafficking, and killings.

On Wednesday the jurors asked whether a carter killing its rivals in another cartel “for personal reasons” qualified as drug trafficking crimes. U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan responded that killings for “wholly personal reasons not related to drug trafficking” do not constitute a drug trafficking crime.

Guzman is accused of running a continuing criminal enterprise involving a list of 27 specified crimes — 26 drug deals, and one 25-year-long murder conspiracy to protect the cartel by killing suspected informants, traitors and rivals from other drug gangs.

He also is charged with three drug conspiracy counts, one involving heroin, meth and marijuana in addition to cocaine, and two involving cocaine, along with four cocaine distribution counts, one count of using a firearm in furtherance of drug crimes, and one count of money laundering.

Deliberations are scheduled to resume Thursday.


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