‘El Chapo’ seen surrounded by tight security on his way to the US after the Mexican Supreme court dismissed his suit seeking to avoid extradition.
Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman made his long anticipated first appearance in an American court, friday amdist tight security. A half-dozen federal agents carrying assault weapons flanked the entrance to the Brooklyn Federal courthouse as notorious 59-year-old drug czar and escape artist Joaquin former head of the Sinaloa drug cartel Guzman Loera prepared to be arraigned for a laundry list of crimes.
The agents were joined by dozens of NY police officers, who formed a protective security perimeter around the Cadman Plaza West courthouse.
The charges include 12 murder conspiracies, drug trafficking and money laundering hanging over his head, federal authorities want to make sure that he stays put.
Guzman is known for his Houdini-like escapes from Mexican prisons which neccessitated the added protection at Brooklyn federal court for the morning’s session.
One remarkable development of the morning was when, a helicopter was scrambled and ordered to fly over the federal courthouse following a report that someone was spotted on the roof. The report was unfounded.
“I can’t remember the last time we had security like this,” said one federal court officer, who wished not to be named.
Federal authorities dwho were not notified that Guzman was coming to the U.S. until yesterday, had to create the tight security rather quickly : “We knew he was coming, we just didn’t know when,” said Florida U.S. Attorney Wilfredo Ferrer.
“We were notified yesterday, but this was always in process.”
Guzman arrived at the Manhattan Correctional Center around 11 p.m. Thursday after landing at Long Island MacArthur Airport on a flight from Ciudad Juarez. Earlier Friday, a convoy of security trucks escorted Guzman from the Manhattan complex for his arraignment at the Brooklyn Federal Court.
“This case involves offenses for which there is a presumption that no combination of conditions will reasonably assure the defendant’s appearance or the safety of the community,” court documents note. “Unless Guzman is incarcerated under the strictest security arrangements, the risk of his continued criminal activity is certain.”
Police vehicles transport Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to the Brooklyn Federal courthouse, Friday morning
U.S. Attorney Robert Capers said that by pumping more than 200 tons of cocaine and methamphetamines into the U.S., Guzman fueled the drug epidemics of the 1980s and 1990s that “caused the misery of millions of American families.”
“He’s not a do-gooder or a Robin Hood who made great escapes,” said Capers. He’s destructive . . . murderous. He was known for carrying around a gold-plated AK-47.”
“In short, he’s known for a life of crime, violence and destruction,” Capers said. “That’s who El Chapo Guzman is.”
Angel Melendez of the Homeland Security Department’s Immigration Customs Enforcement called Guzman the “most notorious criminal of all time.”
“Last night I was on the tarmac as he came off the plane,” Melendez said. “You look into his eyes, you see surprise, you see shock and to a certain extent you see fear. He’s about to face American justice. We can assure you there will not be any tunnel being built from his bathroom. This is a good day in American Justice.”
The notorious Sinaloa cartel head had been fighting his extradition for more than a year. The U.S. Justice Department has been working with Mexican authorities to get him north of the border to face charges, culminating in the concession to remove the death penalty from the table. Meanwhile Guzman’s lawyer in Mexico filed a complaint early Friday contending that his due process rights were violated in the extradition.
According to court documents federal prosecutors will be seeking maximum incarceration. They plan to call a large number of witnesses who will testify how the Sinaloa Cartel head ran his operation, bribed politicians and law enforcement to release cartel members and remove road blocks used by trucks shipping his drugs.
The house where five gang member suspects were killed in the military operation which resulted in the recapture of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman
El Chapo made his escape from a maximum security Mexican prison through this tunnel in mid-2015.
Feds also plan to outline how Guzman perpetrated a reign of terror, ordering the torture and deaths of more than a dozen people in order “to maintain an iron-fisted grip on the drug trade across the U.S.-Mexico border that invaded our community and others across the country,” Capers said.
“El Chapo”, considered one of the most powerful drug traffickers in the world, has created a legend for his breaks from highly secured jails. In 2015, the fugitive spent months on the run after pulling a stunning escape from the Altiplano Maxium-Security prison in Almoloya de Juarez, Toluca, Mexico. Guzman escaped through a tunnel created for that purpose under the prison
Threatening messages [above] towards Mexican security forces appeared on the Twitter account associated with El chapo’s son Alfredo Guzman, shortly after he escaped from the Altiplano Maxium-Security prison in central Mexico
Another son Ivan Guzman [photo] who is rumored to be the operations head while he father is away tweeted this message below after his father’s recapture
It reads: ‘You don’t know what you’ve done or the mess you got yourselves into’
Guzman’s sons showed the world how well the family lived while he was on the run in 2015, posting this photo of the luxurious ranch residence
In your face; Bently, Masarati, Ferrari. While El Chapo was on the lam, one of his sons shows of a selection of keys to his auto keys
In 2001, Guzman had escaped from another prison in a laundry cart.
In his latest escapade he used an adapted motorcycle on tracks in a mile-long tunnel to ride to freedom. However, this time his time outside the prison walls, which was spent taunting the authorities on social media, was short-lived as he was eventually recaptured following a bloody shoot-out.