“El Chapo Guzman’s First Six Months In Prison: No U.S. Extradition Request And A Successful Hunger Strike”

August 25, 2014
Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán
“(Photo credit: Aristegui Noticias/Xinhua)”

Forbes on August 21, 2014 released the following:

BY: Dolia Estevez

“Although Mexican drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán has multiple U.S. criminal indictments pending against him, Washington seems to have given up on the possibility of his extradition. Six months after his extraordinary arrest in Mexico on February 22, the world’s most powerful drug kingpin has not been tried in Mexico or the U.S.

Soon after Guzmán was captured at a condominium in the Pacific port city of Mazatlán, in his home state of Sinaloa, a public brawl broke out in the U.S. over which jurisdiction would try him first. Guzmán—who was once considered by Forbes “the biggest drug lord of all times” – has been indicted in Arizona, California, Texas, Illinois, New York and Florida. Prosecutors and law-enforcement officials in New York and Illinois argued that they had the strongest case against him.

In 2013, the Chicago Crime Commission named Guzmán “Public Enemy Number One.” As head of the Sinaloa Cartel, Mexico’s most powerful criminal organization and the #1 supplier of illegal drugs to the U.S., Guzmán controlled the cocaine distribution market in Chicago.

Yet since the day of his arrest, the Mexican government said it has no intention of extraditing Guzmán, even though many Mexicans have expressed doubts through social media about Mexico’s fragile justice system’s ability to prosecute him and keep him in jail. In 2001, Guzmán bribed his way out of a Mexican top-security prison and remained at large for thirteen years by putting hundreds of law-enforcement and military officers on his payroll. Due to the levels of endemic corruption in Mexico’s law-enforcement and political institutions, nothing guarantees that Guzmán cannot buy his freedom again.

In April, upset about a controversial plea bargain with one of Guzmán’s lieutenants in a U.S. federal court in Illinois, Mexico’s Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam reaffirmed Mexico’s unwillingness to extradite Guzmán. The Mexican government’s opposition could have influenced Washington’s decision to withhold the request to bring El Chapo to the U.S. for the time being.

Guzmán is currently behind bars in Mexico’s famous maximum security prison Altiplano, in Almoloya de Juárez, located in Mexico City’s neighboring State of Mexico. In the six months since his arrest, Guzmán’s Mexican defense lawyers have been busy filing numerous injunctions to prevent him from being transferred to another prison or extradited. Last month, they filed injunctions against 17 Mexican government agencies, including the Ministry of Government (Gobernación) and the Foreign Ministry, and 15 top prisons. All were rejected by the courts after the agencies denied plans to transfer him or to extradite him to the U.S.

An earlier injunction against any extradition was also rejected on the basis that no request by the U.S. government exists. El Chapo’s worst nightmare is to face the U.S. system of justice where he would have no way out.

Even in jail, El Chapo has exerted his power and shown his leadership qualities. Last month, according to Proceso, Mexico’s leading weekly, El Chapo, or prisoner No. 3578, led a massive hunger strike to demand better treatment.

In coordination with Édgar Valdez Villarreal, a.k.a. La Barbie, a former Sinaloa Cartel drug lord who is also wanted by the U.S., 1,000 inmates (two thirds of the prison population) were recruited to join the hunger strike, which began on July 16 and ended four days later after prison authorities met most of their demands.

The protest had to do with bad food (more than 20 inmates were poisoned by eating spoiled chicken), inadequate healthcare and lack of medications. They also complained of not being given underwear, irregular compliance with family visits and the limiting of telephone calls to one attempt every nine days. Prisoners also asked for a communal 9 inchTV set, as permitted by the prison regulations.

Although Guzmán-who Proceso’s sources described as a well-mannered man with well-cared-for complexion-and Valdez, are being held in a maximum security area known as Special Treatments, where prisoners supposedly cannot communicate with each other, El Chapo and La Barbie were able to lead a successful strike. This shows not only that El Chapo still has power, but he also knows how to use it.

Since 2009, El Chapo has been included in Forbes’ World’s Most Powerful People list. In 2013, he was dropped from Forbes World’s Billionaire List.”


Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call


We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Mexico here.


To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


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