El Chapo asks federal judge to reinstate his phone calls and visits in Colorado prison

Joaquín Guzmán is serving a life sentence at a supermax prison in Colorado.

April 11, 2024, 12:31 PM

The notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán has asked a federal judge to reinstate his telephone call and visiting privileges at the supermax prison in Colorado, where he's serving a life sentence.

"Sorry to bother you again with the request that I have asked you before with regards to my wife, Emma Coronel," Guzmán wrote to federal judge Brian Cogan in a letter dated March 20 and filed Tuesday in a New York district court.

"I ask that you please authorize her to visit me and to bring my daughters to visit me, since my daughters can only visit me when they are on school break, since they are studying in Mexico," he wrote.

The Tuesday filing includes a handwritten envelope sent to the judge from Guzmán, who was convicted in 2019 of running the Sinaloa drug cartel in Mexico.

In this Jan. 19, 2017 file photo provided U.S. law enforcement, authorities escort Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, center, from a plane in Ronkonkoma, N.Y.
AP, File

In November 2021, Emma Coronel Aispuro was sentenced to 36 months in prison after pleading guilty to money laundering and conspiring to distribute cocaine, meth, heroin and marijuana for import into the United States. She was also ordered to pay almost $1.5 million in fines.

Aispuro was also accused of conspiring with others to assist Guzmán in his July 2015 escape from Altiplano prison, and prosecutors said she also planned with others to arrange another prison escape for the drug kingpin before his extradition to the U.S. in January 2017. She was released from her California halfway house in September 2023.

In the March 20 letter, Guzmán writes that his wife is the only person who can visit him in prison because she lives in California, and other relatives would require visas to visit him.

"I also bother you to continue giving me the two 15-minute calls a month that you authorized me (one call every 15 days), since in May of 2023, the facility stopped giving me calls with my daughters," he wrote. "And I haven't had calls with them for seven months."

"I have asked when they are going to give me a call with my daughters and the staff here told me that the FBI agent who monitors the calls does not answer. That's all they've told me," he continued. "I ask you to please continue giving me the two calls that you authorized me per month. I don't understand why the prosecutor who is in charge of the SAMs Rules stopped authorizing calls with my daughters."

Guzmán said what is being done to him is "unprecedented discrimination" and is asking the judge to intervene.

Guzmán was convicted in 2019 of conducting a continuing criminal enterprise, including large-scale narcotics violations and a murder conspiracy, drug trafficking conspiracies, unlawful use of a firearm and a money laundering conspiracy. A federal appeals court in January 2022 upheld the conviction after Guzmán sought to overturn it in Brooklyn federal court on 10 grounds. The appellate court determined that "none of these claims has merit."

Under Guzmán's leadership, the Sinaloa cartel imported more than 1 million kilograms of cocaine and hundreds of kilograms of heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine into the U.S. Trial evidence proved the cartel used murder, kidnapping, torture, bribery of officials and other illegal methods to control territory throughout Mexico and to subdue opposition.

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