El Chapo claims sleep torture, wants extradition to US

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The notorious drug lord El Chapo wants a one-way ticket to the U.S. as quickly as possible. (WLS)

An ABC7 I-Team Investigation
The notorious drug lord El Chapo wants a one-way ticket to the U.S. as quickly as possible, even though extradition is something most criminals fight.

He claims that Mexican authorities have turned him into a zombie, that he is unable to sleep in prison not because he's having bad dreams about the thousands of people investigators say have died from his drugs and at the hands of his cartel. But because Mexican prison officials have kept him sleep deprived. Now, El Chapo wants to get to an American prison as fast as he can.

At the maximum security Altiplano Prison west of Mexico City, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is losing sleep, according to his attorney, because the guards keep him awake.

One of the drug lord's lawyers has told a Mexico radio station that Chapo has "reached his limit here," and that he is asking for fast transfer to the U.S. in an "act of desperation."

New video of El Chapo from prison shows him undergoing a medical exam, claiming he has high blood pressure and headaches from exhaustion. These are the first moving pictures of him since the days following his recapture in January. One reason Mexican officials may be so stringent with El Chapo is because he escaped from that very prison, humiliating the nation's crime fighters.

PHOTOS: See inside El Chapo's prison escape tunnel

But the result is an about face for the ruthless cartel boss, who initially vowed to drag out his U.S. extradition fight.

El Chapo is a defeated man, according to his attorney; a man broken by sleep deprivation. In one court filing, El Chapo says his head and ears always hurt and he feels bad all over.

If he is extradited, legal experts believe Chicago has a 50-50 shot at getting him. For decades, El Chapo has had a vice grip on cocaine sales here, his Sinaloa Cartel controlling at least 80 percent of the illicit drugs sold on Chicago's streets.

Many consider the indictment against him here the strongest of several federal cases because El Chapo is actually heard discussing his drug empire on secret recordings made by his top Chicago underlings, the Flores brothers, who are cooperating with federal authorities.

Mexican officials admit they awaken El Chapo every four hours for a head count, but deny that is torture. Despite El Chapo's fatigue, he says he will still require a formal deal with the U.S. before signing off on extradition. The main provision would be American guarantee that he will serve his time at a medium security U.S. prison.

Related Topics:
I-Teamdrugprisonu.s. & world
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