The kingpin is known as much for jailbreaks as narcotics trafficking, so it’s expected he will be sent to U.S. Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility aka ADX Florence, a super-secure Colorado prison home to America’s most dangerous criminals.
Guzman, 59, was convicted of 10 counts of various drug trafficking charges at a U.S. District Court in Brooklyn on Tuesday.
He was found guilty of running the world’s largest drug smuggling operation during a decades-long criminal career that included the murder of rivals, money laundering and weapons offenses.
As a condition of his extradition, U.S. prosecutors assured Mexican officials that they would not seek the death penalty.
Widely known as Supermax, or ‘Alcatraz of the Rockies,’ the facility opened in 1994 and holds 402 inmates inside specially designed ‘control units’ that function as prisons within prisons
Now the pressure is on the U.S. to make sure Guzman doesn’t make a slippery escape again. The notorious drug lord has already been imprisoned twice and made two escapes from two maximum-security Mexican prisons in 2001 and 2015.
Guzman will probably be sent away to ADX Florence, the one-and-only lockup designed to incarcerate the highest-risk prisoners in the federal penal system, located in Florence, Colorado, 90 miles (144 km) south of Denver.
‘There’s a high likelihood that he would end up at ADX Florence given his history of escaping and his ability to compromise corrections staff in Mexico,’ said Martin Horn, a professor of corrections at City University of New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice said in 2017.
Widely known as Supermax, or ‘Alcatraz of the Rockies,’ the facility opened in 1994 and holds 400-plus inmates inside specially designed ‘control units’ that function as prisons within prisons.
Inmates in these units are confined to single-person cells for up to 23 hours a day, depriving them of virtually all contact with the outside world.
It’s currently home to 402 all male inmates.
Among its most infamous residents are Ramzi Yousef, mastermind of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York; convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev; the airline ‘shoe bomber’ Richard Reid; and Unabomber Ted Kaczynski.
It’s also home to 1996 Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph and 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui.
But the prison does hold one familiar face for the drug kingpin: Osiel Cardenas Guillen, the onetime leader of the Gulf cartel who was extradition to the U.S. in 2007 and sentenced to 25 years behind bars in 2010, according to Business Insider.
El Chapo’s new home? A look inside the sterile cells of ADX florence pictured above with stone furniture
Special restrictions are designed not only to prevent escape and keep corrections staff safe but to ensure that the most incorrigible inmates have no means of exerting influence or threats beyond prison walls.
‘The prisoners really have no contact with other prisoners, all their movements are controlled,’ Horn told Reuters. ‘They get limited privileges, limited contacts. … It’s a tough place to do time.’
One 36-year-old former federal prisoner, who spent six years at Supermax between 2008 and 2014 for his involvement in prison riots at two federal lock-ups, said the stark conditions border on the ‘inhumane.’
‘Those guys at Guantanamo had it much better than we did,’ the ex-inmate said, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity. Numerous lawsuits have been filed against the U.S. Bureau of Prisons over living conditions there.
Citing security concerns, U.S. authorities have been tight-lipped about where Guzman will be held while awaiting trial, or where he would be sent if convicted.
Bureau of Prison officials said he’ll be treated as any other inmate.
‘He will be treated as any other offender who is sentenced to a term of imprisonment,’ the BOP said in a statement to Newsweek.