Joaquin "El Chapo" is being tortured at the federal prison he is being housed at, according to his attorney. The Mexican drug lord is allegedly being deprived of sleep and visits and has been mixed in with other prisoners, the Associated Press reported Monday.
Guzman’s lawyers stated that the abuse is causing him dangerously high blood pressure levels and anxiety. "Cruel and unusual treatment is torture," attorney Jose Refugio Rodriguez said.
But the Mexican government stated that special precautions need to be taken since the drug lord has previously escaped from a maximum security prison. His first escape was back in 2001 when he was arrested on drug charges and waiting for extradition back to Mexico. The drug lord is said to have bribed every worker in the facility. He was then let out of his cell and was able to escape by hiding in a laundry basket. In 2015, he escaped from prison through a tunnel dug under his prison shower.
Since then, officials have taken special safety measures to ensure that he remains imprisoned. In January, it was reported that Guzman was woken up every few hours during head counts.
A hearing was expected to take place Monday on an appeal attempting to prevent the extradition of “El Chapo” to the United States. If Guzman, who is being held in a facility on the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez, bordering El Paso, Texas, is extradited, he could face money-laundering, murder, drug trafficking and weapons charges in the U.S. Guzman's Sinaloa Cartel was known for being a dominant force in the illegal drug market in a large part of the United States, UPI reported.
An associate of Guzman has already been sentenced to serve time in the United States. Edgar Manuel Valencia Ortega, who pleaded guilty to laundering money for the drug lord, was sentenced to eight years in prison on Monday.