Whether the United States government is interested in negotiating a plea deal with Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzman or not, the Mexican drug lord is reportedly considering that as an option.
Guzman is still waiting on a judge to decide to uphold or strike down his appeal to avoid extradition and stay in Mexico, but the legal process is already in motion in the country to the north. The U.S. Department of Justice is reportedly planning to take Guzman to court to make him pay for crimes associated with his alleged drug smuggling empire, according to a report published Wednesday.
Jose Refugio Rodriguez, one of Guzman’s lawyers, told El Universal in an interview last month the defense's plan is to exhaust all available legal strategies to avoid his client’s extradition from Mexico. Lawyers on the other side of the border are already preparing should they prepare to negotiate with American authorities. Earlier this year, Rodriguez mentioned that Guzman was interested in reaching an agreement with the “the United States government to consent to extradition” so that he could spend as little time in jail as possible.
Peter Vincent, a former legal adviser at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, told Business Insider that the best Guzman can hope for is to negotiate to protect his family from additional prosecution in Mexico or the U.S. by giving up his lieutenants.
“And for all of the bravado, for all of the tough talk, for all of their viciousness, all of these guys ultimately snitch and provide information to law enforcement and intelligence agencies that compromise ongoing operations and the activities and location of their colleagues, cohorts, and lieutenants,” Vincent said.
Guzman, who escaped from prison in 2015 only to later be caught again, also likely hopes to avoid a prison where he is kept in a cell all day without contact with other prisoners and only gets one hour of daylight a day.