Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he is considering an extradition request from Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán that would return the infamous drug trafficker to a prison in his home country.
Guzmán sent the request from his cell, where he is serving a life sentence in the ADX maximum security prison in Florence, Colorado.
The former drug kingpin claimed he is being subjected to “cruel and unfair” conditions in prison.
His request was relayed through a member of his U.S. legal team before being made public in a radio interview by his legal representative in Mexico, José Refugio Rodríguez.
“Joaquín asked me through verbal messages to fight for his return to Mexico,” Rodriguez said during an interview with Mexican outlet Radio Formula. “I see it as an SOS… he is hurting from a trial that was not in accordance with due process.”
Rodríguez referred to Guzmán’s prison treatment as “psychological torture.”
“He doesn’t see the sun, the food is of very bad quality, there is no healthcare; he had a problem with his molars and instead of treating them, they took them out so he wouldn’t fuss,” Rodríguez said.
Guzmán’s lawyer further claimed that the convicted cartel leader is kept in isolation, prohibited from speaking Spanish, and has had limited opportunities to talk with his lawyers and family, only making only six or seven calls since March 2022.
Rodríguez added that Guzmán believes his human rights were violated during the extradition process, as he was denied the chance to defend himself in Mexico.
In addition, he claimed that Mexican authorities had failed to honor a legal obligation to review Guzmán’s situation in Colorado every six months.
The Mexican Embassy in Washington said on its Twitter account that it had received an email from Rodríguez about the issue and had turned it over to Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department.
President Obrador said, “we will review it,” adding: “You always have to keep the door open when it comes to human rights.”
The U.S. and Mexico have a prison transfer agreement allowing inmates convicted in one country to serve their sentence in their home country under certain circumstances. But given Guzmán’s crimes, sentence, and the risks he purportedly still poses, it is unknown whether the agreement will be used in this case.
“El Chapo” was the longtime head of the multibillion-dollar Sinaloa drug cartel responsible for smuggling mountains of cocaine and other drugs into the U.S.
After two dramatic prison escapes in Mexico, Guzmán was extradited to the U.S. in 2017.
He was convicted in New York on February 12, 2019, on numerous charges, including drug trafficking, organized crime, money laundering, and homicide, and given a life sentence.
Guzmán’s request to be returned to Mexico comes after his oldest son, Ovidio Guzmán-Lopez, was jailed in a maximum-security prison in Mexico and his arrest triggered an outbreak of gang violence, as reported by The Dallas Express.
Nicknamed “El Raton” or “The Mouse,” the younger Guzmán, 32, is believed to have been among those who took over the reins of his father’s drug empire.