Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is currently among the world’s loneliest criminals, following a series of stringent measures implemented by the U.S. government to prevent his escape and limit contact with the outside world. Incarcerated at The Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan, he apparently spends 23 hours a day in his solitary cell.
El Chapo faces a 17-count indictment, and not even his lawyers are allowed direct access to him and have to use a drawer to pass legal documents. Just recently, it was revealed that a bible could not be sent to him directly and had to be first analyzed for hidden codes. This is according to the Daily Beast.
That said, his defense team recently tried to oppose a move by the court to provide security to jury members as their client was considered dangerous, stating that it eroded the presumption of innocence. According to his lawyer, Eduardo Balarezo, “[Such a move would] create the extremely unfair impression that he [El Chapo] is a dangerous person from whom the jury must be protected.”
This was after federal prosecutors requested that the names, addresses and employment details of jurors not be revealed due to El Chapo’s history of violence. According to the order, jurors will also be escorted to and from the court by the US Marshals Service. This is as reported by CNN.
Some of the factors that contributed to the decision, according to Judge Brian Cogan, included his history of escaping from prison, and employing sicarios, who carried out assaults and murder in his name. He also stated that there were dangerous individuals within the United States who had already expressed their willingness to help him out if called upon to do so.
In January last year, a group of Hispanic prisoners within the American prison system posted a video online to convey the message to El Chapo that they were willing to protect him and help him escape. The clip, which was uploaded on YouTube, showed five gang members donning sunglasses, hats, and pieces of cloth to conceal their identities. They pledged their loyalty to the capo and said they were hitmen who were ready to take care of him.