Prosecutors want 'El Chapo' to forfeit $12.7 billion to US government

Prosecutors want 'El Chapo' to forfeit $12.7 billion to US government
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U.S. authorities asked a federal judge for a court order Friday to require drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to forfeit $12.7 billion following his conviction earlier this year on racketeering, drug trafficking and other charges.

Authorities said the sum would cover the amount of cocaine, marijuana and heroin a jury decided Guzman trafficked, taking into account the prices of the drugs.

But it is unclear what assets the U.S. could seize to satisfy the judgement. 

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“This is largely an academic exercise as the government has never located or identified a penny of this $12.7 billion in proceeds supposedly generated by Mr. Guzman,” Jeffrey Lichtman, a lawyer for Guzman, told Reuters

Guzman, who was convicted in February on 10 counts covering crimes he committed while heading the Sinaloa drug cartel, will be sentenced on July 17. He faces life in prison. 

A federal judge this week denied his request to vacate the verdict and hold a new trial, which came after a Vice News interview with a juror who said that the jury disobeyed court orders during the case.

Guzman spent much of his drug trafficking years on the run, escaping twice from maximum security prisons in Mexico. He was ultimately captured in January 2016 and extradited to the U.S. to face trial.