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  1. ITV Report

Notorious Mexican drug kingpin El Chapo sentenced to life behind bars in US prison

El Chapo's mugshot. Credit: AP

Notorious Mexican drug baron El Chapo has been sentence to life in a maximum-security US prison.

The drug kingpin, whose real name is Joaquin Guzman, was found guilty in February of running an industrial-scale smuggling operation after a three-month trial.

Guzman and his murderous Sinaloa drug cartel made billions of dollars smuggling tons of cocaine, heroin, meth and marijuana into the US.

New York jurors, whose identities were kept secret for their own protection, took six days to reach a guilty verdict after sorting through an "avalanche" of evidence gathered by authorities for other 30 years.

  • El Chapo being extradited to the US in 2016

The evidence showed how drugs poured into the US through secret tunnels, or were hidden in tanker trucks and railway carriages, often passing through border controls.

The prosecution case against the diminutive Guzman, whose nickname translates to "Shorty", included the evidence of former allies and other witnesses.

The defence lasted just half an hour, with Guzman's lawyers arguing he was being framed by government witnesses who were more evil than he was.

The 61-year-old escape artist has been jailed in American to avoid another prison break after he twice made brazen escapes, spending years on the run as Mexico's most wanted man.

  • CCTV of the moment infamous Mexican drug lord 'El Chapo' escaped from prison

The defendant had previously escaped from jail by hiding in a laundry bin in 2001. He then got an escort from crooked police officers into Mexico City before retreating to one of his many mountainside hideaways.

In 2014, he pulled off another jail break, escaping through a mile-long lighted tunnel on a motorcycle on rails.

Experts have said Guzman could be taken to Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado - also known as ADX for "administrative maximum".

It is a facility so secure, so remote and so austere that it has been called the "Alcatraz of the Rockies".

El Chapo Guzman in 2017 after being extradited to the US. Credit: AP

Located outside an old mining town about two hours south of Denver, Florence’s hardened buildings house the nation’s most violent offenders, with many of its 400 inmates held alone for 23 hours a day in 7ft by 12ft cells with fixed furnishings made of reinforced concrete.

Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and Oklahoma City bombing accomplice Terry Nichols are among those who are held there.

An aerial shot of the Supermax facility near Florence, Colorado. Credit: AP

Prisoners at the high-security facility spend years in solitary confinement and often go days "with only a few words spoken to them", an Amnesty International report found.

One former prisoner described the lock-up as a "high-tech version of hell, designed to shut down all sensory perception".

Most inmates are given a television, but their only real view of the outside world is a 4in window whose design prevents them from even determining where they are housed in the facility.