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Mexican Drug Lord 'El Chapo' Faces Life Sentence in U.S. Prison

by Reuters /
Image: Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is escorted from a plane to a waiting caravan of SUVs at Long Island MacArthur Airport on Jan. 19 in Ronkonkoma, New York.
Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is escorted from a plane to a waiting caravan of SUVs at Long Island MacArthur Airport on Jan. 19 in Ronkonkoma, New York. The infamous drug kingpin who twice escaped from maximum-security prisons in Mexico was extradited at the request of the U.S. to face drug trafficking and other charges, and landed in New York late Thursday, a federal law enforcement official said.U.S. Law Enforcement / AP

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NEW YORK — Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman will spend the rest of his life in a U.S. prison if convicted on charges he ran the world's largest drug-trafficking organization during a decades-long criminal career, U.S. prosecutors said on Friday.

El Chapo (Shorty), once one of the world's most wanted drug lords, was set to appear at 2 p.m. EST in federal court in Brooklyn to be arraigned on 17 criminal counts, a day after his surprise extradition from Mexico.

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The charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison, Robert Capers, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said at a news conference.

Related: Mexican Drug Lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman Extradited to U.S.

"Who is Chapo Guzman? In short, he's a man known for no other life but a life of crime, violence, death and destruction, and now he'll have to answer to that," Capers said.

Guzman, 59, arrived in a small jet at Long Island's MacArthur Airport after nightfall on Thursday from a prison in the city of Juarez in the northern state of Chihuahua, where his Sinaloa cartel rules.

A few hours earlier, he was bundled out of the Mexican cell block with his hands cuffed above his bowed head, Mexican television footage showed.

Guzman is charged in six separate U.S. indictments. He is accused of money laundering and drug trafficking, kidnapping and murder in Chicago, Miami, New York and other cities.

Calling him "the most notorious drug trafficker in the world," U.S. prosecutors said in court papers that Guzman "vigorously fought his extradition to the United States up until the moment" that it was ordered on Thursday.

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