'El Chapo' in Solitary Confinement as Lawyers Fight His Extradition to US

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was captured Friday night after six months on the run.

ByABC News
January 11, 2016, 11:46 AM

— -- A lawyer for Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is trying to "initiate a protection for him" so the drug kingpin can avoid extradition to the U.S.

"At this moment he cannot be extradited to the United States because there are current protections going on," Guzman’s extradition lawyer, Juan Pablo Badillo, told ABC News Sunday. "It has been granted a temporary withdrawal, not only to avoid his extradition but also in the unlikely event of being rearrested, being killed, punished or even held. Thank God none of this happened, he is just arrested and his dignity is safe."

Guzman's lawyers have already filed six motions to suspend his extradition. The Mexican Attorney General's office told Mexican media company Televisa that Guzman's extradition will take at least one year.

The drug lord, who was recaptured Friday after six months on the run following his escape from a Mexican prison, was issued two orders of detention for the purpose of extradition while in prison Sunday, according to Mexican prosecutors.

Interpol agents served Guzman with the formal orders at the Altiplano prison where he was being held.

Guzman has three days to "pose exceptions" and 20 additional days to "prove them," the Mexican Attorney General's office said Saturday.

Guzman is now in solitary confinement, Badillo told ABC News.

Mexican newspaper El Universal reported that Guzman's jail cell floor will have three layers of metal coated with concrete and he will be limited to one hour of sunlight each day.

He escaped from the Altiplano prison near Mexico City on July 11, launching an active manhunt. When guards realized that he was missing from his cell, they found that a ventilated tunnel and exit had been constructed in the bathtub inside Guzman's cell. The tunnel extended for about a mile underground and featured an adapted motorcycle on rails that officials believe was used to transport the tools used to create the tunnel, Monte Alejandro Rubido, the head of the Mexican national security commission, said in July.

Guzman had been sent there after he was arrested in February 2014. He spent more than 10 years on the run after escaping from a different prison in 2001.

Guzman, the leader of the Sinaloa cartel, was once described by the U.S. Treasury as "the most powerful drug trafficker in the world." The Sinaloa cartel allegedly uses elaborate tunnels for drug trafficking and has been estimated to be responsible for 25 percent of all illegal drugs that enter the U.S. through Mexico.

Guzman has also been ranked among the richest men in the world by Forbes. Drug enforcement experts have conservatively estimated the cartel's revenues at more than $3 billion annually.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.