“El Chapo” to serve time in U.S. high-security prison

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The Mexican is serving a life sentence in the state of Colorado. Gúzman was considered the most powerful drug baron in the world.

Life in the “Alcatraz of the Rockies”: Mexican drug baron Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán started his life sentence on Friday in a high-security prison in the US state of Colorado. The 62-year-old had arrived at the “ADX Florence” prison, the US prison authorities announced. On Wednesday, a New York court sentenced him to life imprisonment plus another symbolic 30 years after a mammoth trial for drug trafficking, money laundering and other crimes.

“ADX” stands for “administrative maximum” and thus for the highest security level. Around 400 prisoners live in the prison, which is located two hours by car south of Denver. Due to its isolated location and rigorous security precautions, it is also known as the “Alcatraz of the Rockies” – alluding to the infamous prison island off San Francisco.

Guzmán was once regarded as the most powerful drug baron in the world. The long-time head of the infamous Sinaloa cartel also made headlines with two spectacular prison breakouts. Half a year after his last escape in July 2015, he was arrested in his home state of Sinaloa and extradited to the USA a year later. There he was sent to solitary confinement in New York, where he had to spend 23 hours a day alone in his solitary cell.

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In November, El Chapo’s trial began in New York. In February, he was found guilty on all charges, including large-scale drug smuggling, arms trafficking and money laundering. On Wednesday, the New York court sentenced him to life imprisonment plus a symbolic further 30 years. “El Chapo’s” defense attorneys immediately announced appeal.

The New York court also ordered 12.6 billion dollars (11.2 billion euros) from Guzmán’s assets to be confiscated. The sum refers to the estimated revenues that “El Chapo’s” Sinaloa cartel had generated in the past decades.

The leftist Mexican head of state Andrés Manuel López Obrador declared on Thursday that the amount was too high. In any case, however, his country is entitled to all confiscated funds from “El Chapo’s” shops. López Obrador criticized the prison sentence imposed on the drug baron as “hard” and “inhuman”. (AFP)

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Mette Frederiksen is a The Washington Newsday correspondent. With her coverage of general science, NASA and the interface between technology and society, Frederiksen has been in the Science Desk's Technology Beat since joining Washington Newsday in 2018.

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