Mexican drug lord, Joaquin Guzman (also known as “El Chapo” or shorty) is a legend in Mexico because of his dramatic high security prison escapes and years of being one step ahead of the law.
A federal court in Mexico had denied Guzman’s lawyers the appeal of blocking the extradition. Mexico had originally claimed that Guzman would serve his long sentence in Mexico before he was extradited to the United States, however, officials started to reconsider after Guzman’s associates had tunneled him out of Mexico’s most secure prison.
Guzman was extradited to the United states on Jan. 19.
A U.S official told CNN that the extradition may have been timed because Mexican Authorities wanted to turn Guzman over to the United States before the inauguration of now, President, Donald Trump. However a Mexican deputy attorney also told CNN that Trumps inauguration “had nothing to do with it”.
CNN described Guzman as freshly shaved and unhandcuffed when he had arrived in the US.
Guzman appeared in court on Friday, Jan. 20 where he pleaded not guilty to 17 counts of indictment.
The Daily News reported that the charges include, money laundering, drug trafficking, and involvement in a dozen murder conspiracies from 1989 to 2014. The charges carry a minimum sentence of life in prison.
Guzman is housed in tenth wing of the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC), which Daily News described as the “high-security division reserved for high-risk inmates.”
According to the New York Times, Guzman described the new prison as “tougher than Guantanamo Bay”. Inmates who are determined the most dangerous are put in a half-dozen cells in the tenth wing, where they are held in solitary confinement 24/7 and are prohibited from calling out to each other.
Brooklyn federal justice, Brian Cogan had ordered Guzman to appear in court via video to “Minimize disruption from physical transportation”
Lawyers of the Mexican drug lord demanded that their client be allowed to appear in person at his hearing rather than over video chat.
According to the New York Post, Guzman “Objects to appearing by video, and requests to be physically present in the courtroom”.
On Feb. 1, Guzman was granted his request to appear in court on Friday Feb. 3.
According to the New York Post, Guzman’s lawyers are expected to argue that their client be removed from 24-hour solitary confinement.