He’s the Mexican drug kingpin who rose to notoriety through two daring prison escapes, but Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán is bored, cold and lonely in his New York prison cell.
He was once deemed the ‘most powerful drug trafficker in the world’ – now he’d settle for some blankets and a window.
“[Guzmán] is permitted a single hour of solitary exercise in another cell that contains one treadmill and one stationary bicycle,” according to documents filed by his lawyers, who added that on weekends he is not allowed to exercise at all.
“His meals are passed through a slot in the door; he eats alone,” the documents said. “The light is always on. With erratic air conditioning, he has often lacked enough warm clothing to avoid shivering.”
Guzmán ‘never goes outside’ and his only way of distinguishing day from night is a clock in his cell, which was later removed ‘without explanation’.
On Sunday, his lawyers asked that he be released from solitary confinement to join other inmates at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a prison in lower Manhattan.
Guzmán was extradited from Mexico to the United States on January 19. He has pleaded not guilty to charges including drug trafficking, conspiracy and murder.
The 59-year-old is now being held in the Metropolitan Correctional Center, sometimes called ‘the Guantanamo of New York’. The highest risk inmates – which include Mafia leaders, terrorists and drug lords – are housed in conditions so isolating that some have blamed them for deteriorating eyesight.
During a hearing last month, Guzmán’s lawyers said his custody was ‘too restrictive’ and said he had even been denied water.