Guzman, wearing a gray suit and dark tie, spoke for about 10 minutes in court before the sentence was handed down and called out issues with the jury.
“There was no justice here,” he said in Spanish, referring to a report that one juror had spoken about misconduct by some other jurors.
El Chapo, who infamously escaped prison twice in Mexico, also slammed the conditions of his incarceration in New York.
“It’s been torture, the most inhumane situation I have lived in my entire life,” he said. “It has been physical, emotional and mental torture.”
The life sentence for Guzman, 62, comes after he was convicted in February of all 10 counts he faced, including engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, which carried a mandatory term of life in prison, as well as drug trafficking and firearms charges.
Prosecutors have called him a “ruthless and bloodthirsty leader” of the Sinaloa cartel.
Witnesses during the trial testified that Guzman ordered and sometimes took part in the torture and murder of perceived cartel enemies.
“The long road that led ‘El Chapo’ Guzman from the mountains of Sinaloa to the courthouse was paved with death, drugs and destruction, but it ended today with justice,” Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski said Wednesday.
Guzman, who has been in isolation for two and a half years, is expected to serve out his sentence in the nation’s most secure federal prison in Florence, Colorado.
“No one has ever escaped,” defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman told CNN’s “New Day.” “It’s absolutely impossible. It’s not even an issue.”
Lichtman said later on Wednesday that Guzman had been taken to the prison.
Guzman’s history of escaping prison has weighed on prosecutors’ minds, both during his trial and after his conviction.
In 2001, Guzman escaped by hiding in a laundry cart. He spent the next 13 years in hiding in and around his home state of Sinaloa.
He was recaptured in 2014, but former associate Damaso Lopez testified during Guzman’s trial that he, Guzman’s wife and other family stayed in touch with Guzman while he was held in prison in the Mexican city of Altiplano.
Lopez testified that Guzman asked for a tunnel to be built directly into his cell.
The mile-long tunnel, complete with electricity and ventilation, was in the works for month and Lopez learned that Guzman was “hearing noises where he was, those who were excavating (the tunnel) were already underneath.”
Guzman used it to escape from prison a second time, on July 11, 2015.