The Ever-Elusive El Chapo: Escaped and Extradited

Staff Writer: Claudia Miklosik

Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera. Does this name ring a bell? It probably does not. However, this is the real name of the infamous Mexican drug lord, “El Chapo”. As the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, he has acquired more than this nickname throughout the years. Forbes named him one of the “most powerful people in the world”, the United States Drug Enforcement Agency dubs him, “the Godfather of the drug world”, and the Chicago Crime Commissions says he is “public enemy number one”.

The government has struggled for decades to bring this man, responsible for thousands of murders and drug trafficking, to justice. He escaped from a maximum security prison in Mexico in 2001 via a laundry basket and remained free for 13 years. He was finally recaptured in February 2014. His time behind bars was short, as he escaped a year later using a 30-foot tunnel. Corruption and bribery of the guards may have been to blame; El Chapo is a billionaire with power.

It was only on January 8, 2016 that El Chapo was captured again. He is being held at the same maximum security prison he escaped from two times prior. Granted, the prison has installed hundreds of more cameras and enacted numerous security measures. One of these measures is not to prevent his escape, but it is meant to prevent someone seeking revenge. “A K9 tastes his food first because we must care for his physical integrity in case someone wants to poison him,” said Eduardo Guerrero, the head of Mexico’s prison system.

These measures are hoped to suffice in keeping El Chapo behind bars. Since he is responsible for an estimated 25% of drugs which enter the United States, his prosecution is crucial for the War on Drugs in the United States and globally. There is talk of extraditing the drug lord to the United States, but the process may take over a year. In this time, it is unknown whether the notorious escapee will flee his charges again.

If he is to come to the United States for sentencing, there is word that he will be locked up at ADX Florence Maximum Security Prison in Colorado. The 407 inmates here are describes as “a very small subset of the inmate population who show absolutely no concern for human life,” according to Norman Carlson of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Maybe the third time will be a charm to keep El Chapo from orchestrating his cartel permanently.

Caption One: Guzman, as known as “El Chapo”, recaptured in 2015 by Mexican marines.

Caption Two: ADX Florence in Colorado. The prison which El Chapo is thought to be extradited to.

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