NEW YORK – Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman sent on Thursday a letter to the judge in New York who is taking his case to complain about strict security limits on communication with his family and his prison conditions.
“It is torture 24 hours a day,” wrote the former drug lord of the Sinaloa Cartel who escaped from Mexican prisons twice and was extradited to the United States on Jan. 19, 2017 to face criminal charges.
Since his imprisonment, El Chapo has been complaining – through his lawyers – about the limits on communication with his wife and other relatives and the isolation to which he is subjected.
The letter was sent on Thursday to Judge Brian Cogan after the content of the letter was brought forward during a court hearing to determine the status of the trial and to review various issues before it begins in September.
“Due to the rules that you authorized, I find it impossible to mount my defense,” El Chapo wrote in the letter which was presented by his lawyer Eduardo Balarezo and was sent to EFE by his legal firm.
Guzman said he has not had contact with his wife since his imprisonment, either in person, on the phone or by letter, and insisted that “because of the impossibility of contact, she has not been able to help me get the funds to pay my lawyers.”
“I want to make it clear – I want my family to know that I want to go to trial. I do not have any intention to cooperate or to plead guilty,” he said.
But he also insisted that since he is not allowed to reach his family, he is unable to “pass messages to my family with instructions on how to obtain the fees” to pay his lawyers.
“Judge Cogan, I ask that you please modify the rules to allow me to speak with my wife face-to-face to resolve this situation. If not, my trial will be a farce,” the drug lord said.
He also described a series of ailments that were cited Thursday by his lawyer in statements to journalists at the end of Thursday’s hearing.
“I suffer from headaches every day. I vomit almost every day,” El Chapo wrote.
He complained that his two teeth have not been fixed, that he has “not seen the sun or breathed fresh air for 13 months” and that if his cell is “not too cold, it’s too hot.”
“The light in my cell is on all hours of the day and it is difficult for me to sleep,” said Guzman, who was considered one of the world’s most notorious drug traffickers and the leader of the gang responsible for numerous crimes in his country.
“All I ask for is a fair trial,” El Chapo concluded.