Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is back in the news, where he and his attorney, Jose Refugio Rodriguez, are trying to make a deal with the United States government in regard to his future prison accommodations. El Chapo and Rodriguez have agreed to allow extradition to the United States where El Chapo would plead guilty to drug charges and, in exchange, El Chapo would serve his sentence in a medium security prison. El Chapo has escaped twice from prison and Mexico, and now claims he is being treated improperly. He believes he would be treated differently in the United States.
— Chicago Informer (@chicagoinformer) February 27, 2016
Jose Refugio Rodriguez gave an interview to Radio Formula of Mexico City, during which he discusses how his client is receiving poor treatment in the prison where he is incarcerated. Rodriguez states that El Chapo tells him stories of the prison guards depriving him of sleep, which is causing his client to suffer from severe headaches. Rodriguez said, “Tell me what person could tolerate not sleeping.” Emma Coronel Aispuro, wife of the drug kingpin, is also speaking out on the inhumane treatment that El Chapo is receiving in Mexico. Aispuro also claims that his life is in imminent danger.
Due to the history of El Chapo being able to escape from prison, guards are now reportedly under orders to wake up El Chapo every four hours in order to determine that he has not escaped once again and that there is no evidence of a future escape in the works. Mexico’s Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong has not yet commented on the treatment of El Chapo.
“He is treated like what he is, a criminal, and he has security measures to avoid a possible escape. There is no mistreatment, his human rights are respected, and we are only acting based on the prison’s regulations.”
— Jose R Rodriguez (@Metztli_IT) February 25, 2016
Having El Chapo come to the United States to stand trial is an idea that has left some lawyers in America salivating at the prospect. Attorneys in at least seven different jurisdictions want the cartel kingpin to stand trial in the U.S. for murder, drug trafficking, and organized crime. Lawyers in Chicago, Brooklyn, and San Diego have the best chances of landing El Chapo if he is ever extradited to the United States. Where he would face trial would depend on which jurisdiction has the most evidence and the best chance of conviction. This is all speculative, at the moment, since the extradition process is a long one.
Jose Manuel Marino, the director of international processes for the Mexican Attorney General has confirmed that the “extradition process has begun” for El Chapo. Marino gave an interview in which he explained that the process is not immediate.
“Right now, our legislation doesn’t allow for that. We have to abide by our international commitments and the extradition law. The treaty, the law and the penal code carry specific terms for the extradition process.”
On the United States side, the United States Department of Justice is refusing to comment on whether the attorneys for El Chapo have contacted them. It is policy for the Department of Justice to stay silent on any extraditions until their target is within the boundaries of the United States.
Do you think the United States should allow El Chapo to serve jail time in a medium security prison?
[Photo via AP Photo/Marco Ugarte]