Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is desperate for an extradition to the United States because the prison guards are not letting him sleep, his attorney, Jose Refugio Rodriguez, said Wednesday.
As Yahoo News reports, Rodriguez said his client has told him to negotiate with the American government in exchange for a lighter sentence and transfer to a U.S. medium security prison.
Speaking to a radio station, Rodriguez said, “He has reached the limit; it is an act of desperation.”
The Sinaloa drug cartel boss made his plea because of his ill-treatment and concerns for his health. Rodriguez said the defense team would work around the clock to negotiate with the U.S., and it would take at least two months for Guzman to be moved across the northern border.
— Global Grind (@GlobalGrind) March 3, 2016
Authorities at the Altiplano prison acknowledge that Guzman, 58, is woken up every four hours for a head count. But they say it is precaution since he escaped from the same prison six months ago, barreling through a tunnel that was a mile long. Prison authorities say it is part of the protocol reserved for all high-profile inmates.
In addition, authorities have taken excessive measures to ensure that Guzman does not embarrass the Mexican government with another daring escape. Metal rods have been installed in the floor to stop any attempts of digging a tunnel out of his cell, and there is always a guard posted outside his cell wearing a camera on his helmet. Guzman also has fewer visits, a move that his lawyer says has broken him.
“I saw a defeated and humiliated man,” Rodriguez said.
— Tele13 (@T13) February 23, 2016
Rodriguez provided the Associated Press with a copy of Guzman’s testimony, where he said he was being tortured by prison officials and held in a special area, separated from inmates, and not allowed to see the sun. His testimony stated that he was only allowed a four-hour family visit every nine days.
National security commissioner Renato Sales, whose responsibility is overseeing federal prisons, dismissed the claims at a news conference Monday.
“Shouldn’t someone who has escaped twice from maximum prisons be subject to special security measures?” he asked.
In a swift reversal, President Enrique Pena Nieto has instructed the attorney general’s office to speed up Guzman’s extradition process to the U.S. Prior to Guzman’s escape in July, the Mexican president had refused to send him back to the United States. Mexico’s attorney general has said the extradition would take over a year. But an anonymous source at the attorney general’s office said the case could be facilitated within months, with the president triggering a special law.
Guzman’s wife and former beauty queen, Emma Coronel, 26, told the press that “if Guzman’s life was in danger, they would need to do the right thing.” She said Guzman’s extradition would not be a defeat, because she and their twin daughters are American citizens.
— Noticias Telemundo (@TelemundoNews) February 23, 2016
Two American courts formally requested for Guzman to be handed over after he was recaptured because he needed to answer to a murder charge in Texas and drug trafficking charges in California. The American embassy in Mexico has declined to comment on El Chapo’s extradition request.
El Chapo Guzman is considered to be the “biggest drug lord in the world” reeling in $3 billion from the sale of cocaine alone.
[Photo by Eduardo Verdugo/File/AP]