'El Chapo' wants quick extradition to U.S. out of 'desperation'

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  March 2, 2016 at 1:55 PM
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MEXICO CITY, March 2 (UPI) -- A lawyer for Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman said the Mexican drug lord has asked for an expedited extradition to the United States "in an act of desperation" over alleged torture while imprisoned.

José Refugio Rodríguez Núñez said his client told him Tuesday the only solution Guzman sees to escape from what Guzman and his lawyers describe as "mental and physical torture" is an expedited extradition to the United States.

Last week, Guzman's lawyer said his client was willing to negotiate an "unelevated" sentence to be imprisoned in a U.S. medium-security prison. Rodríguez Núñez said the extradition process could take no less than two months. He also criticized the Mexican government's "disastrous performance."

Guzman has repeatedly said he has been tortured through mistreatment while imprisoned at Altiplano Federal Prison. Director Salvador Almonte Solís recently said the drug kingpin is not being tortured and is instead trying to play the victim.

In a letter to a judge, Almonte Solís said there is no reason to believe Guzman's life is at risk, adding the imprisoned drug lord is attempting to victimize himself while causing instability in the prison.

Guzman recently a formal complaint alleging he has been tortured and his health has deteriorated while under the care of prison officials. He said officials won't allow him to see his family and won't allow him to sleep due to roll calls every two hours.

Guzman's allegations have gone so far that he has said he is becoming a "zombie" -- while his lawyers accuse prison authorities of subjecting his client to "physical and mental torture."

"I do not fail to mention that it is completely untrue that his rest is disturbed at night or during the day," Almonte Solís said. "The act that he has not had a family visit is not attributable to this authority, as his family has not shown interest in meeting the established requirements in terms of authorizing visits."

Guzman was captured in the city of Los Mochis in his home state of Sinaloa on Jan. 8 after escaping from Mexico's Altiplano Federal Prison on July 11. Guzman's Sinaloa Cartel is credited with dominating the illegal drug market in nearly the entire United States.

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