The sentencing Wednesday of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to life without parole in a U.S. prison proved supremely satisfying for the U.S. Coast Guard, whose drug interdiction operations provided a significant amount of evidence in the case.
Coast Guard officials said July 10 that the service's counter-narcotics operations were highlighted by the prosecution during Guzman's 11-week trial earlier this year, and several Coast Guardsmen served as witnesses.
"With the trial of this convicted leader of the Mexican Sinaloa cartel ... you saw the impact of Coast Guard joint operations," a senior Coast Guard law enforcement official said during a briefing with reporters.
Guzman was sentenced to life plus 30 years, a sentence in line with the guilty verdict he received in February, which carried a mandatory life without parole sentence. He also was ordered to pay $12.6 billion to the U.S.
According to The Associated Press, Guzman complained Wednesday before he was sentenced about his living conditions and the trial process, calling it unfair and saying the judge failed to adequately investigate allegations of juror misconduct.
The drug kingpin was famously caught in January 2016 after an intense manhunt by Mexican authorities and U.S. intelligence officials -- the day before Rolling Stone magazine ran a story by actor Sean Penn about the fugitive and his narco empire.
He was extradited to the United States in 2017 and has been in solitary confinement in a Manhattan jail under intense security.
Since 2015, the Coast Guard has set records for cocaine seizures, preventing more than 777 metric tons from reaching the U.S. market. To conduct operations in the Eastern Pacific, the service works with the U.S. Navy, Customs and Border Patrol, the Drug Enforcement Agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and law enforcement from partner nations.
"The results in the [Guzman] case, along with the proven interoperability with domestic and foreign international patterns, solidly align with the Office of National Drug Control Policies, with the ultimate goal of disrupting, dismantling and defeating drug traffickers," the Coast Guard official told reporters.
Legal experts told the AP that Guzman likely will serve his sentence at the federal "Supermax" prison in Florence, Colorado, where he'll have a television but just a four-inch window to view the outside world.