Last month, Cass briefed you on the conditions at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center, which is where Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has been held since he was extradited to the U.S. on Jan. 19. El Chapo has been staying at the 10 South wing, which is the high-security wing of the detention center reserved for the most dangerous criminals. The 10 South wing is not known for its cheery accommodations. In fact, criminals have said that they found Guantanamo Bay detention camp “more pleasant” and “more relaxed” than the MCC. You can add El Chapo to the list of unhappy campers who don’t enjoy prison life at the MCC.
On Friday morning, the notorious drug kingpin appeared in a federal court in Brooklyn. He is facing 17 charges relating to drugs, homicide, and money laundering that he carried out while running his $14 billion Mexican drug cartel. Guzman’s defense attorneys argued that El Chapo’s conditions are “too restrictive.” They have asked for permission for Guzman’s wife, former teen beauty queen Emma Coronel, to be able to visit him. Can’t blame him.
“Essentially, he’s locked in a cell for 23 hours a day,” defense attorney Michelle Gelernt told reporters outside the Brooklyn court building. “He’s only permitted out for limited members of our office and one hour of exercise a day — it’s extremely restrictive.”
He does realize that this is prison, not a Motel 6 right?
“We believe that in light of the fact that he has caused no security problems since he’s come to this country, he’s conducted himself the way he should in court and with the agents who arrested him, that the current restrictions are excessive,” Gelernt added.
Judge Brian Cogan slammed the door on making things easier for the vicious cartel leader and basically told him tough tittays. “They’re taking extra security measures. I think we all know the reasons for that.” Alluding to Guzman’s prior two prison escapes.
Guzman, who appeared in court wearing a navy prison uniform, saw his wife for the first time since he was extradited to the United States. El Chapo received quite the escort to the court with a 12-car caravan that shut down the outbound Brooklyn Bridge for 15 minutes.
As part of the extradition deal with Mexico, the Sinaloa Cartel cannot receive the death sentence. But if he is convicted, Reuters reports that he will likely be shipped off to Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) in Florence, Colorado because of “his history of escaping and his ability to compromise corrections staff in Mexico.”
The Department of Justice is also demanding that Guzman surrender $14 billion “in drug proceeds and illicit profits.”
Toughen up buttercup.