Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán’s better half is concerned that the ruthless Mexican drug kingpin may go crazy before he stands trial in September. Guzmán’s wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, claims that the 61-year-old’s health is rapidly deteriorating behind bars at Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. Guzmán is being held in solitary confinement and constantly under surveillance.
“My main worry is his health because I know he’s in a very bad psychological state. He feels very bad, the lawyers have told me,” said Aispuro, who has a child with Chapo.
Guzmán’s lead attorney, Eduardo Balarezo, wants his client to undergo a second psychological evaluation.
“We have noticed that his mental state has deteriorated, not just his memory but his affect, the way he understands things,” said Balarezo, noting that Guzmán had his first evaluation in November 2017. “He is not the man that he was when I first met him. I think it’s time to do a second one now so we can address the court and say, ‘Hey, look, this is what’s changed and we need to do something about it’ because he needs to be competent in order to reach trial.”
Guzmán, the Sinaloa cartel’s boss, allegedly manufactured, distributed and smuggled approximately 25 percent of all narcotics that entered the U.S. via Mexico since his reign commenced in 1989. Accordingly, while supervising an enterprise that drug enforcement analysts predict exceeded $3 billion annually in revenue, Guzmán was named by Forbes as the “biggest drug lord of all time” and the periodical ranked him as one of the world’s wealthiest individuals from 2009 through 2011.
Chicago has become America’s most notorious city for its gang-fueled drug violence. The crime-plagued metropolis tallied 650 homicides in 2017, according to police data released in early January. Hence, for the second consecutive year, the nation’s third-largest city registered more slayings than New York City and Los Angeles combined. Somewhat astoundingly, despite being based in another country, the head of Chicago’s Drug Enforcement Administration, Jack Riley, claims that Guzmán’s network especially ravaged the Windy City’s South Side and West Side areas.
“While Chicago is 1,500 miles from Mexico, the Sinaloa drug cartel is so deeply embedded in the city that local and federal law enforcement are forced to operate as if they are on the border,” said Riley.
Jeffrey Johnson, a member of the board of directors for the Chicago Crime Commission that named Guzmán the city’s Public Enemy No. 1 in 2013, concurred with Riley’s synopsis.
“(Guzman’s crimes) need to be addressed at the highest levels of the U.S. government and the highest levels of the Mexican government,” said Johnson. “Don’t kid ourselves, that’s why we have used the label as Public Enemy Number One in this instance, of the havoc of this organization and he as the head leader has wreaked on the streets to the citizens of Chicago.”
The 5-foot-6 El Chapo, a derisive nickname that means “Shorty” in Spanish, escaped from prison in 2001 and 2015. Infuriated by Guzmán’s Houdini-like disappearances, U.S. officials offered $5 million for information leading to his arrest. Roughly five months after using a tunnel to flee from Mexico’s top-security prison, Guzmán’s bodyguards lost a shootout and he was apprehended by marines and federal police near the coastal city of Los Mochis in Sinaloa on January 8, 2016. A year later, El Chapo was flown to the United States District Court in New York to face a 17-count indictment alleging that he committed an array of crimes across multiple American cities.
Prosecutors have requested that Guzmán forfeit $14 billion worth of the fortune that he amassed from his nefarious activities. Conversely, claiming a lack of funds to properly prepare a defense, Balarezo and the rest of his legal team successfully persuaded Brooklyn Federal Court Justice Brian M. Cogan to postpone Guzmán’s trial from April until September. Guzmán has pleaded not guilty and legal insiders believe that his judicial proceedings could last as long as four months.