10 of the most shocking twists and turns of El Chapo's drug trafficking trial, so far

El ChapoAuthorities escort Joaquin &quotEl Chapo&quot Guzman from a plane to a waiting caravan of SUVs at Long Island MacArthur Airport.AP

  • Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is on trial in Brooklyn, facing 17 counts for alleged links to drug trafficking in the US and Mexico.
  • The trial started in November 2018, and prosecutors have brought in a number of people to testify against Guzman, including cartel cohorts and one of his mistresses.
  • The trial has exposed secret escape tunnels and naked escapes, bribes, and potentially implicated people within Mexican's government.

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's federal trial reads like a telenovela.

The Mexican drug lord has watched from his seat in a Brooklyn courtroom as prosecutors have brought out cartel cohorts, a Colombian kingpin, and even a mistress to testify against him.

The trial has exposed alleged murder rooms, secret tunnels, and bribes, and potentially implicated Mexican government leaders - including former President Enrique Pena Nieto.

Guzman pleaded not guilty to drug trafficking charges connected to claims that he built a multibillion-dollar fortune by smuggling cocaine and other drugs across the Mexico-US border.

He faces 17 counts for alleged links to drug trafficking in the US and Mexico.

Here are the most shocking twists and turns that have happened at his trial so far.

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Prosecutors say Guzman sent "more than a line of cocaine for every single person in the United States" in just four shipments.

Prosecutors say Guzman sent "more than a line of cocaine for every single person in the United States" in just four shipments.

In opening arguments for the case, Assistant US Attorney Adam Fels described the amount of cocaine Guzman was accused of trafficking over the border.

He said that in just four of his shipments, he sent "more than a line of cocaine for every single person in the United States," according to the BBC.

That amounts to more than 328 million lines of cocaine, Fels said.

A former Colombian kingpin who altered his face to hide his identity explained international drug trafficking to the court.

A former Colombian kingpin who altered his face to hide his identity explained international drug trafficking to the court.

Former Colombian kingpin Juan Carlos Ramirez Abadia testified how his Norte del Valle cartel used planes and ships to bring cocaine to Mexico, where the Sinaloa cartel would smuggle it to the US under the direction of Guzman.

Abadia testified that he kept a ledger that showed how much hit men were paid, and bribed Colombian authorities with millions of dollars.

He estimated that he smuggled 400,000 kilos of cocaine, ordered 150 killings, and amassed a billion-dollar fortune through his cartel.

He was arrested in 2007 and extradited to the United States, where he pleaded guilty to murder and drug charges.

The son of one of Sinaloa cartel's top leaders testified against Guzman.

The son of one of Sinaloa cartel's top leaders testified against Guzman.

Much of the prosecution team's hard-hitting testimony came from its star witness, Vicente Zambada Niebla.

Zambada is the son of one of the cartel's top leaders, Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, who is considered one of Guzman's peers within the Sinaloa cartel hierarchy.

Zambada, nicknamed El Vicentillo, described in detail the exploits of the cartel in his testimony against Guzman.

In one bit of testimony, Zambada claimed Guzman had the brother of another cartel leader killed because he would not shake his hand when they met to make peace in a gang war.

"When [Rodolfo] left, Chapo gave him his hand and said, 'See you later, friend,' and Rodolfo just left him standing there with his hand extended," Zambada said, according to BBC.

The 43-year-old pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges in Chicago in 2013, and to a trafficking conspiracy charge in Chicago days before Guzman's trial began.

Guzman's defense attorneys have argued that Zambada's father is in fact the true leader of the Sinaloa cartel.

Zambada also spoke about Guzman's diamond-encrusted pistol.

Zambada also spoke about Guzman's diamond-encrusted pistol.

Zambada testified that Guzman had an obsession with guns, and had a bazooka and AK-47s.

His favorite, Zambada testified, was a gem-encrusted .38-caliber pistol engraved with his initials.

"On the handle were diamonds," Zambada said of the pistol, according to the New York Post.

Prosecutors released photos of the weapon in November.

El Chapo's mistress described escaping Mexican Marines through a secret tunnel hid under a bathtub.

El Chapo's mistress described escaping Mexican Marines through a secret tunnel hid under a bathtub.

Lucero Guadalupe Sánchez López, 29, took the stand in a Brooklyn courtroom during Guzman's federal trial to discuss her relationship with Guzman.

The former legislator in Mexico detailed a 2014 incident in which she and Guzman fled Mexican forces through a secret tunnel under a pop-up bathtub.

López said she was awoken one morning to Mexican Marines trying to break down the door of the house she and Guzman were staying in.

Guzman, who was naked at the time, brought her into the bathroom, and López recalled: "He said, 'Love, love, come in here.' There was like a lid on the bathtub that came up. I was scared. I was like, 'Do I have to go in there?' It was very dark."

The bathtub lifted up with a hydraulic piston, and Guzman, López, and others they were with ran through the tunnel in complete darkness, she said.

López said the tunnels led to a sewer system for Culiacán, a city in the state of Sinaloa.

Guzman's cartel allegedly had a $50 million bribe fund.

Guzman's cartel allegedly had a $50 million bribe fund.

In Zambada’s testimony, he said traffickers had a $50 million bribe fund for former Mexican Secretary of Public Security Garcia Luna to ensure their business ran smoothly, the BBC reported.

Zambada said former Mexico City Mayor Gabriel Regino was also bribed.

Luna and Regino have denied the allegations.

Zambada also testified that he paid out $1 million a month in bribes to Mexican officials — among them Humberto Eduardo Antimo Miranda, who led the Defense Ministry under President Felipe Calderon.

Read more: The trial of drug kingpin El Chapo exposes just how powerful Mexico's cartels are — and how ineffective a wall would be

El Chapo's beauty queen wife described her husband as a "normal person."

El Chapo's beauty queen wife described her husband as a "normal person."

American-born mother-of-two Emma Coronel Aispuro, 29, spoke to Telemundo about Guzman's trial in an interview that aired in December.

It was Aispuro's first public interview in two years.

She told Telemundo that she had never seen her husband, a Sinaloa drug cartel kingpin, doing anything illegal, according to translations from the New York Post.

"[The media] made him too famous," Aispuro said of her 61-year-old husband, who she married on her 18th birthday in 2007. "It's not fair."

"They don't want to bring him down from the pedestal to make him more like he is, a normal, ordinary person," she added.

A weapons smuggler described a cartel hitman’s "murder room."

A weapons smuggler described a cartel hitman’s "murder room."

Edgar Galvan testified in January that a trusted hitman for Guzman kept a "murder room" in his house on the US border, which featured a drain on the floor to make it easier to clean.

Galvan, who said his role in the Sinaloa cartel was to smuggle weapons into the US, testified in January that Antonio "Jaguar" Marrufo was the man who had the "murder room," according to the New York Post.

The room, Galvan said, featured sound-proofed walls and a drain.

"In that house, no one comes out," Galvan told jurors.

Both men are now in jail on firearms and gun charges.

El Chapo put spyware on his wife's and mistress's phones — and the expert who installed it was an FBI informant.

El Chapo put spyware on his wife's and mistress's phones — and the expert who installed it was an FBI informant.

Prosecutors in Guzman's trial shared information from text messages the drug lord sent to his wife, Emma Coronel, and a mistress named Agustina Cabanillas, with the jury.

FBI special agent Steven Marson said US authorities obtained the information by searching records collected by a spyware software Guzman had installed on the women's phones.

Texts appear to show Guzman and Coronel discussing the hazards of cartel life, and Guzman using Cabanillas as a go-between in the drug business.

It turns out the IT expert who installed the spyware was actually an FBI informant.

The expert had built Guzman and his allies an encrypted communication network that he later helped the FBI crack, according to The New York Times.

A Colombian drug trafficker testified that Guzman boasted about paying a $100 million bribe to a former Mexican president.

A Colombian drug trafficker testified that Guzman boasted about paying a $100 million bribe to a former Mexican president.

Hildebrando Alexander Cifuentes-Villa, known as Alex Cifuentes, testified that Guzman paid $100 million to President Enrique Peña Nieto, who was in office from December 2012 to December 2018.

Cifuentes has previously been described as Guzman's right-hand man, who spent several years hiding northwest Mexico with him.

"Mr. Guzman paid a bribe of $100 million to President Peña Nieto?" Jeffrey Lichtman, one of the lawyers representing Guzman, asked Cifuentes during cross-examination, according to The New York Times.

"Yes," Cifuentes responded, adding that the bribe was conveyed to Peña Nieto through an intermediary.

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