It remains hard to believe, but the moment Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, Mexico’s most powerful drug lord, will set foot in an American prison cell is coming ever closer. Yesterday, Mexico’s foreign ministry approved his extradition to the United States where he faces a long list of charges ranging from money laundering and drug trafficking to murder.
That means time is officially ticking and running out for “El Chapo,” who apparently isn’t thrilled about the prospect of spending his final days in America. His lawyers told Mexican media they would seek an injunction against extradition, and that they would take the case all the way to the supreme court if necessary.
This is in sharp contrast to earlier reports in which Guzman’s lawyer Jose Refugio Rodriguez told media that the drug boss wanted to be “extradited as fast as possible.” According to both his lawyer and his wife, Guzman was slowly going crazy in his Mexican cell due to the increased security measures imposed on him since his last escape in 2015.
With Guzman’s team of lawyers fighting his extradition, things will go very slow and could drag on for a year. That gives “El Chapo” plenty of time to pull off another one of his grand escapes for which he has become famous around the world.
His first prison break came in 2001, when he escaped while hiding in a cart filled with dirty laundry. In the years that followed he became one of Mexico’s most wanted fugitives and its most powerful drug lord. As leader of the Sinaloa cartel he made it to Forbes’ Most Powerful People On Earth list. He was captured in 2014, but escaped within a year via a secret mile-long tunnel dug beneath the shower in his cell.
While evading Mexican authorities, Guzman sat down with Hollywood actor Sean Penn for an exclusive interview. Unfortunately for Guzman, he was already back in prison when his interview was published in Rolling Stone magazine.
Ever since then, both friends and foes of “El Chapo” are awaiting his third prison break. Especially since this time it’s do or die. Either he makes it out or he spends the rest of his life in a maximum security prison in the United States from which escaping will be impossible even for the Houdini among crime bosses.
Each second that passes brings Guzman closer to that new final phase in his life. Every minute gives him more insight into what kind of life awaits him. When another hour passes what is he thinking? What about another day?
His legal team can only do so much. What other tricks does Guzman have up his sleeve? What are his men up to? Are they digging like hell? Have they bribed the right people? Will they help him get out?
The clock is ticking.
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