Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzman, arguably Mexico’s most notorious cartel boss, was finally extradited to the U.S. last week in a swift operation. Once in the U.S., El Chapo was quickly transported to New York, where he is now housed in the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a prison that has been described as worse than Guantanamo Bay.
So what makes the Metropolitan Correctional Center worse than Guantanamo?
Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, who has served time in both prisons, explained the differences between the two, saying that Guantanamo had room to socialize and pray with other inmates. On the other hand, the Metropolitan Correctional Center’s conditions were worse because many prisoners were in solitary confinement.
David E. Patton, one of El Chapo’s lawyers, told the New York Times that the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York is the perfect place to drive someone crazy.
Lights can stay on 24 hours a day, windows are obscured, and the slot through which guards interact with prisoners are kept shut, providing no link to the outside world. Prisoners’ eyesight is known to deteriorate in these conditions, leaving many nearsighted. Guards watch inmates at all times via cameras installed in each cell. Catherine Linaweaver, a former lockup warden, spoke to the Associated Press about the facility, saying, “It’s got extra security above and beyond what you would have in a restricted housing area. There is no other unit in the Bureau of Prisons like the high-security unit in New York.”
El Chapo’s mother has reportedly asked Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) to bring her son back from U.S. federal custody. María Consuelo Loera Pérez, El Chapo’s mother, claims that the U.S. illegally extradited her son from Mexico.
María Consuelo Loera Pérez, El Chapo’s mom, wants her son brought back to Mexico.
According to Daily Mail, El Chapo’s mother sent a letter to President López Obrador claiming to have information that proves that the U.S illegally extradited her son. In the letter, Loera Pérez argues that her attorneys have sufficient proof that the U.S. acted inappropriately and is asking President López Obrador to bring El Chapo back to serve his sentence in Mexican custody.
It is alleged that Loera Pérez’s attorneys are already in talks to bring El Chapo back to Mexico.
Some people have been able to find humor in the news. El Chapo was extradited and eventually convicted by U.S. authorities on a series of felonies tied to his participation in the drug trade. His involvement in cartel activities in Mexico that spilled into the U.S. led to his extradition and sentencing in U.S. custody.
The news comes after a viral video showed AMLO visiting with El Chapo’s mother.
The video, allegedly taken in Badiraguato, Sinaloa, Mexico, shows AMLO walking up and greeting Loera Pérez as she sits in a car. He can allegedly be heard telling her not to get out of the car and that he did get her letter. The mention of the letter does lend credibility to the claims of El Chapo’s mother fighting to bring him back. However, it is unclear what the letter he mentioned addressed.
The video is drawing strong reactions from people as AMLO is violating social distancing guidelines set forth to combat COVID-19.
AMLO has been panned for leaving Mexico exceptionally vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic by not moving quickly enough to set restrictions. Health authorities in Mexico are urging all 130 million citizens to stay indoors and to only leave on essential business.
Some people are more upset with the fact AMLO met with El Chapo’s mother.
“In this case, the least of the problems is the social distancing for Covid19,” @archibaldo53 tweeted. “The true problem is the significance of this visit that clarifies our doubt completely and finds López in relations with these people.”
El Chapo is currently serving a life sentence in U.S. federal custody. He was sentenced to life by a Federal District Court in Brooklyn for his drug, murder, and money laundering charges.
It seems like everybody today is trying to get in on the alcohol business. Whether it’s The Rock with a new tequila brand or Ryan Reynolds buying a gin company, it seems to be all the rage right now that even “El Chapo” is getting his own line of beers.
Say hello to the “El Chapo 701” brand run by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s daughter Alejandrina Guzman Salazar, who also is behind a fashion and lifestyle company built around her jailed father’s brand. The new line of beer, called El Chapo Mexican Lager, was unveiled for the first time to the public on Jan. 14 at a fashion trade show in Guadalajara, Mexico.
“It hasn’t been released for sale to the public yet. I just brought some to display,” spokeswoman Adriana Ituarte told AFP, as the beer line is currently still waiting on government approval to sell beer in Mexico. The alcohol displayed at the trade showed brown, black and white labeled craft beer bottles with the Sinaloa cartel leader’s infamous mustache face adorned on them.
Alejandrina Guzman Salazar’s company is banking on the idea that people will want to buy craft beer, labeled and named after her infamous father, at bars and markets in Mexico.
Beer lovers won’t have to break the bank either when it comes to purchasing the new line of beer which comes in at 70.10 pesos, or about $3.73, for a 355 ml bottle. There is also the name of the brand, “El Chapo 701” which has an interesting meaning behind it. The “701” is a reference to El Chapo’s place on the 2009 list of the world’s richest persons from Forbes magazine (estimated at $1 billion).
The “El Chapo” beer is expected to have a large fan base due to the notoriety of the imprisoned drug cartel leader and a growing market for collectible celebrity alcoholic beverages like these. The company is hoping that, besides just the name and branding of the beer, fans will actually enjoy the drink and keep coming back to it.
“I don’t know if we take the label off and the beer is good if it’s going to sell,’ Ituarte told the Daily Mail. “But obviously the brand gives the plus of sale, we continue with the idea that we are selling and as long as the product is good, people buy it and like it.”
Ituarte said at the trade show that the product will be sold at bars throughout Mexico that also sell stock craft beer, a market that has flourished in Mexico City in recent years due to the growth of microbreweries. The lager was produced by La Chingonería, a Mexico City-based brewery company.
“This is an artisanal beer, with 4 percent alcohol. This prototype is a lager, and it’s made up of malt, rice, and honey so it’s good,” Ituarte told Daily Mail. “And the idea is for it to be sold at bars that stock craft beer.”
This is not the first time that “El Chapo” has seen his name being cashed in on by his family. There has been a clothing and accessories line made in tribute of Guzman.
Salazar’s company has already cashed in on her father’s name with a line of T items such as t-shirts, belts, purses, and jackets all adorned with imagery of Guzman and the 701 logo. The brand has been quite successful in under a year of going public which shows the power of “El Chapo’s” name.
Salazar isn’t the only one getting in on the drug lord’s name. Last March Guzmán’s wife, Emma Coronel, launched a fashion and leisurewear line, licensed by her husband. “I’m very excited to start this project, which was based on ideas and concepts that my husband and I had years ago,” Coronel told CNN in a statement at the time of the launch. “It is a project dedicated to our daughters.”
These dedicated “El Chapo” brands show the notoriety and the power of his name when it comes to marketing. If this new beer line is anything like the clothing and accessories already released under his name, there is sure to be a market for this too.
Guzman is currently serving a life sentence at a supermax prison in Colorado after being convicted on drug trafficking and weapons charges in 2019. El Chapo was forced to forfeit $12.6 billion as part of his punishment.