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Mexico City (CNN) José Antonio Ortega arrived early to his 10 a.m. appointment.
The criminal attorney was ready. He had everything he would need, including his briefcase with all the documents pertaining to the case. He wasn’t nervous. He felt more than prepared, but he wondered.
Would the suspect cooperate? Would he provide any meaningful new details that would help him solve the case?
All of a sudden, he got a phone call. It was a prison official saying the inmate was not ready. Ortega would have to wait a while longer. The hours went by.
By the time he got a call from the same prison official saying the hearing could proceed, it was well past 10 at night. A full 12 hours had passed since the scheduled time.
Ortega’s first shock was that he and an associate weren’t taken to the room where hearings were normally conducted, but to a room right next to that of the prison’s director, where a clerk was already setting up his printer and computer for the hearing.
The door opened and the inmate finally appeared. It was Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. He cracked a smile as if he were attending a social gathering and greeted everybody in the room.
The Mexican government has treated drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán so harshly since he was recaptured in January that he now hopes to be extradited to the United States as soon as possible, one of his lawyers says.
José Refugio Rodríguez, the attorney leading Guzmán’s legal defense team, told the Mexican radio station Radió Fórmula on Wednesday that he met with his client the day before at the maximum-security Altiplano prison outside Mexico City. Rodríguez said Guzmán told him that guards are keeping him isolated and waking him up every few hours — treatment that Rodríguez said amounts to torture.
More than two decades after first locking up one of the most powerful organized crime bosses in a maximum security prison, Mexican authorities have yet to convict recently recaptured Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera for the crime of drug trafficking, according to a new report that highlights the Mexican government’s difficulties with prosecuting the drug lord.
Despite Guzmán’s notoriety as one of the leaders of the largest drug-trafficking empire in the Americas, Mexican authorities have only convicted him for three less serious offenses, according to court records obtained by the Mexican magazine Proceso. Moreover, prosecutors have repeatedly seen their cases against Guzmán fall apart.
Guzmán’s lawyers have succeeded in dismissing or overturning some 20 charges for crimes including murder, conspiracy to commit murder, kidnapping and drug trafficking, the report says. The cases have unraveled either because of a lack of evidence or because the defense exploited procedural errors committed by Mexican law enforcement.
She sweeps into the restaurant dressed elegantly in black slacks and a sleeveless, pale pink blouse, a white ribbon tied demurely at the neck. Her bag is Prada. If there are bodyguards, they have waited discreetly outside.
As wife of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the notorious leader of the Sinaloa cartel, Emma Coronel Aispuro seems anxious not to cause a scene as she moves into a private room in the crowded restaurant, a popular seafood place on the sweltering banks of the Tamazula River. She smiles softly and speaks quietly.
“I don’t have any experience at this kind of thing,” she says.
The 26-year-old former beauty queen has never spoken publicly about her eight years of marriage to a man who has headed one of the world’s most violent criminal organizations, responsible for much of the marijuana, heroin, methamphetamines and murder produced in Mexico.
If Mexico agrees to extradite the notorious drug trafficker known as El Chapo to the United States, he would be tried in federal court in Brooklyn, a law enforcement official said on Wednesday.
The drug kingpin, Joaquín Guzmán Loera, has been indicted in Brooklyn as well as Chicago, Manhattan, Miami and other cities where his cocaine ring is said to have extended in the United States.
WPIX-TV in New York City reported on Wednesday that Brooklyn would be the likely location for Mr. Guzmán’s trial.
A 2014 indictment filed in Federal District Court in Brooklyn charged that Mr. Guzmán, who was recaptured in January after a daring escape from prison last summer that embarrassed the Mexican authorities, helped run the world’s largest drug-trafficking organization, called the Sinaloa cartel.
The majority of the drugs trafficked by the cartel were imported into the United States, according to the indictment, which also charged another of its suspected leaders, Ismael Zambada García. The authorities have said that they believe the cartel may have been the largest supplier of cocaine to the New York City area for years.