El Chapo Extradited to the US, Being Held in Notorious New York Jail

By Seth Ferranti 01/24/17

The infamous drug trafficker and two-time prison escapee is being held in what some call the "Guantanamo of New York."

El Chapo

Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán has mesmerized the world for almost the last three decades, since taking charge of the Sinaloa cartel in the 1990s and growing it into the most violent, high profile and lucrative Mexican drug cartel of recent imagination.

Two escapes from prison, dalliances with Mexican pop stars and actresses, and even a clandestine meeting with American actor Sean Penn—who profiled the secret rendezvous in Rolling Stone magazine—has made El Chapo a media darling and pop culture touchstone in the global business of drug trafficking. But finally, the most wanted man in the world is facing charges in a U.S. courtroom for his multiple-decade foray into drugs, murder and corruption. 

“Guzman Loera is the alleged leader of a multi-billion dollar, multi-national criminal enterprise that funneled drugs onto our streets and violence and misery into our communities,” said Acting Attorney General Sally Yates in a press release announcing his extradition to the U.S. “We are deeply grateful to the Government of Mexico for their assistance in securing Guzman Loera’s extradition. The Mexican people have suffered greatly at the hands of Guzman Loera and the Sinaloa Cartel; Mexican law enforcement officials have died in the pursuit of him. We will honor their sacrifice and will honor Mexico’s commitment to combat narco-trafficking by pursuing justice in this case.”

The U.S. government has long wanted to get its hands on the man who's become public enemy number one in the War on Drugs, due to the insane levels of violence his cartel has wrought as it ratcheted up the blood lust in Mexico, killing rivals and innocents alike. El Chapo has not only become a worldwide law enforcement target for his crimes, but an international outlaw hero too, his exploits chronicled in gangster lore. El Chapo arrived in the United States on January 19 and was arraigned on January 20, his first appearance in a U.S. courtroom.

Indicted in Brooklyn for running a "continuing criminal enterprise" from January 1989 to December 2014, El Chapo’s organization is accused of trafficking illicit drugs throughout the U.S. and Canada, amassing more than $14 billion in profits, according to the Justice Department.

The drug kingpin is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City. The infamous facility, which is known for once housing John Gotti and a slew of high-profile terrorists, is one that El Chapo will find hard to break out of. "I assure you no tunnel will be built leading to the bathroom," said Homeland Security Agent Angel Melendez.

New York attorney Joshua Dratel told the Los Angeles Times that the facility "is worse than Guantanamo. It is about as soul-negating existence as there is in this country in the federal system.”

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After landing on the US Marshals Top-15 Most Wanted list and being sentenced to a 25 year sentence in federal prison for a first-time, nonviolent LSD offense, Seth built a writing and journalism career from his cell block. His raw portrayals of prison life and crack era gangsters graced the pages of Don DivaHoopshype and VICE. From prison he established Gorilla Convict, a true-crime publisher and website that documents the stories that the mainstream media can’t get with books like Prison Stories and Street Legends. His story has been covered by The Washington PostThe Washington Times, and Rolling Stone.

Since his release in 2015 he’s worked hard to launch GR1ND Studios, where true crime and comics clash. GR1ND Studios is bringing variety to the comic shelf by way of the American underground. These groundbreaking graphic novels tell the true story of prohibition-era mobsters, inner-city drug lords, and suburban drug dealers. Seth is currently working out of St. Louis, Missouri, writing for The FixVICEOZY, Daily Beast, and Penthouse and moving into the world of film. Check out his first short, Easter Bunny Assassin at sethferranti.com. You can find Seth on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.