NewsCovering America


El Chapo: Feds concerned drug lord plotting another prison break

Posted at 7:01 AM, May 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-27 10:01:01-04

ABC NEWS — There are new concerns that convicted drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman could be planning to escape from jail again.

He's known for his escapes from two high-security prisons and the feds fear his recent requests could be part of another escape plan.

Guzman is now behind bars at a federal correctional facility in New York, convicted on 10 counts of drug trafficking and conspiracy to murder.

In recent weeks his lawyers submitted a letter to a judge asking that El Chapo be allowed at least two hours of outdoor recreation per week, access to the commissary, earplugs, water bottles and other accommodations lamenting the conditions of his solitary confinement.

They argue his restrictions "violate the 8th Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment as well as the fundamental norms of human decency."

But federal officials are fiercely pushing back, saying those requests may be part of a brewing scheme by him to bust out.

Prosecutors cite a foiled 1981 jailbreak at the same facility, involving a hijacked helicopter dropping weapons to inmates on the roof as they unsuccessfully attempted to flee.

El Chapo, the so-called ringleader of the ruthless Sinaloa Cartel, infamously managed to escape two Mexican prisons in the past, once through a mile-long underground tunnel.

He was ultimately re-captured and whisked to the United States to face justice.

"He sees the window closing because he's about to get sentenced," said ABC News consultant and former FBI Agent Brad Garrett. "Maybe he thinks that his best chance to get away again would be while he's still in New York."