“Desperate” from not sleeping under the usual strict conditions that one would expect in a maximum security prison, in an unexpected twist, Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán has asked his defense to speed up his extradition to the United States.
Jose Refugio Rodriguez, Guzmáns lawyer, received orders from his client on Tuesday to negotiate with U.S. authorities on the matter.
The sudden demand from Guzmán is a product of the so-termed “period of desperation” that he is experiencing, due to prior mistreatment in prison, Rodriguez said.
The lawyer also estimates that the extradition process on the other side of the border will take at least two months.
“I can not stand this situation,” he said. “I can not stand by and do nothing … the more time passes the body is weakened,” added the lawyer, who filed appeals for extradition after the drug lord’s recapture.
Last week, Guzmán’s defense said that they would be willing to plead guilty in the U.S. in exchange for negotiating a “relatively reasonable” sentence with El Chapo being transferred to a medium-security prison.
The world’s previously most wanted drug trafficker, 58-year-old Guzmán is listed as having a “high criminal profile” by the Mexican authorities, who acknowledge submitting him to special measures of imprisonment.
El Chapo escaped a Mexican maximum security prison in July last year for the second time. Guzmán fled through a tunnel dug under his cell in El Altiplano, a prison outside Mexico City, where he was imprisoned again after his re-arrest on January 8.
Since then, he has been under 24 hour super surveillance with a guard permanently stationed at his cell door.
In addition, prison authorities reinforced the floor to avoid criminal excavations and every so often they unexpectedly change Guzmán’s cell.
Although President Enrique Peña Nieto had refused to extradite him after his first recapture, he has now even asked the attorney general’s office to sent Guzmán to the U.S. as soon as possible.
“Against everything that the prison authorities say, not letting a person sleep is an act of torture,” the lawyer added, to ensure that on his last visit to El Chapo he found “a desperate man, broken, in a very serious state of health.”
The Penitentiary System commissioner, Eduardo Guerrero commented that “at no time are we violating the guarantees and rights of any inmate has who is subject to this type of security protocol.”
Guzmán’s wife, Emma Coronel, also took the stage to defend him once again.
“If your life is in danger we must do whatever is necessary,” said the 26-year-old ex ex beauty queen, with whom El Chapo has two girls.
“I do not see it as a defeat if Joaquín goes to the U.S. My daughters and I are American citizens,” she said.
For his part, U.S. Secretary of Justice, Loretta Lynch, recently said she was confident that the Mexican courts will soon decide on the extradition of Guzman. The U.S. embassy declined to make any comment in relation to the lawyer’s announcement.