Drug Lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán has been transferred to a prison near the Texas border as his extradition to the United States continues to be processed by Mexican authorities.
Chapo will now be serving time in the maximum security wing of CEFERESO number 9, a federal prison located in Ciudad Juárez, across the border from El Paso.
The move is part of a larger security strategy to “rotate” more than 7,400 inmates across the country, according to a press release by Mexico’s National Security Commission.
The Sinaloa Cartel boss was reportedly taken to Juárez in the early hours of Saturday morning. Chapo's new prison, which was built to hold a maximum of 848 inmates, is overpopulated and has been named in numerous cases of human rights violations, according to several reports by Mexico's Human Rights Commission. In March, five inmates managed to escape by climbing over a fence.
Mexican authorities claim the decision to transfer the drug lord comes as the maximum security prison of Altiplano undergoes construction to reinforce security. In September, Mexican officials said they reinforced the cell from which the drug lord escaped last July by covering the floor with steel rods to prevent any further tunneling efforts.
Upon El Chapo's recapture in January, the kingpin’s defense filed various appeals against extradition to the United States. However, one of his lawyers recently said Chapo had changed his mind and wanted to serve his time in a U.S. prison, claiming he could no longer stand the abuses of the Altiplano prison guards. Mexico’s National Security Commissioner denied allegations of sleep deprivation and explained Chapo was being subjected to “special surveillance measures.”
Although several analysts have said the extradition processes could take more than a year, some suspect the drug lord’s relocation is already anticipating his move to the United States. A spokesperson from Mexico’s National Security Commission told Fusion the agency could not comment on whether Chapo’s transfer is related to his impending extradition.
Back in January, President Enrique Peña Nieto said he had instructed the country's security agencies to "accelerate" their work to extradite the drug lord "as soon as possible."