Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, the infamous drug lord recently recaptured after he escaped a high-security prison in Mexico, is being tortured now that he's back behind bars. At least, that's according to an interview released Sunday with his wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, who alleged authorities were unnecessarily punishing the kingpin for breaking out of El Altiplano prison last summer.
"They are there with him, watching him in his cell,” Coronel told journalist Anabel Hernandez in an exclusive interview broadcast by Telemundo and published in the Los Angeles Times. “They are right there, all day long, calling attendance. They don’t let him sleep. He has no privacy, not even to go to the restroom.”
Coronel, who is 26 and El Chapo's third wife, said the convict is "slowly being tortured" and becoming "a zombie" at El Altiplano, where he's being held while the Mexican government works out his extradition to the United States. El Chapo, the leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel, could be tried in Brooklyn, New York, for selling cocaine, the New York Times reported earlier this month.
El Chapo broke out of El Altiplano last July through a mile-long tunnel he and his associates had dug out of the prison. It was his second high-profile escape — in 2001, he snuck out of another prison by hiding in a laundry cart. It took Mexican law enforcement officials 13 years to find him.
This time, it took about seven months. El Chapo was arrested Jan. 8 in Los Mochis in Sinaloa.
— Periódico El Debate (@ELDEBATE) February 22, 2016
El Chapo was recently returned to El Altiplano, where CNN reported guards have taken precautions so he won't get out again. He is transferred frequently from cell to cell and is constantly under video surveillance. There's even a group of dogs trained specifically to identify his scent.
In the Telemundo interview, Coronel said she was afraid for his life. She also extolled his good qualities, saying that "He is like any other man — of course he is not violent, not rude . . . I have never heard him say a bad word. I have never seen him get excited or be upset at anyone."
El Chapo's lawyer has made similar claims about the conditions of his incarceration. Juan Pablo Badillo told Radio Formula last week that he's experiencing physical and psychological torture in prison, according to United Press International.
"He told me verbatim: 'Every two hours at night, they wake me stridently for roll call . . . They are converting me into a zombie, they don't let me sleep,'" Badillo said. "'What I want is, nothing else, for them to let me sleep.'"