The world watches and waits as the powers-that-be decide the fate of global drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán will be. We recently reported that El Chapo was transferred to a Mexican prison in Juarez, closer to the United States border. This is viewed as a step taken towards El Chapo being extradited to the United States. It i likely that extradition won’t happen for a while. A Mexican judge has signed off on the legal proceedings, but “diplomatic and political hurdles remain.”
Nevertheless, according to Pablo Escobar’s top Medellin Cartel hit man (one of few surviving members), Jhon Jairo Velásquez Vásquez (better known as “Popeye”), extradition is among the things that large scale, Latin American kingpins, like El Chapo and Escobar, fear the most. The United States penal system strips them of their power and they are cut off from their families, cartel contacts and corrupt officials willing to take bribes. Latin American prisons can serve as their playgrounds. Business Insider writes:
While detained at Puente Grande Federal Prison from 1993 to 2001, for example, Guzmán was allowed to host his family for a vacation inside the prison grounds, held multiple parties for friends, and had female inmates brought to the all-male jail for his enjoyment, Mexican journalist Anabel Hernandez said in an interview.
This would be impossible in American prison. Escobar, himself, said, “better a grave in Colombia than a cell in the United States.”
There is one more thing Popeye says those at the top of the drug food chain fear: wanted posters. According to Popeye, when Escobar saw his face on a wanted poster, the “king of cocaine” told him, “Popeye, we’re dead.” Popeye elaborated, “The ‘wanted’ poster is very dangerous for us as bandits because you go to a store to buy a drink and there’s your photo. Someone sees it on TV and knows you are worth 10 million dollars.”
After running off from the prison twice, El Chapo has been on a wanted poster or two, as well. As more comes out about his possible extradition, we will keep you informed.