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Ironically, El Chapo Could End Up Taking An Underground Tunnel Straight To US Federal Prison

REUTERS/Henry Romero/Files

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JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter
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If he is extradited from Mexico, captured Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera of recent Rolling Stone fame will likely face trial in a Brooklyn court connected to a prison through an underground tunnel.

The US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York will probably prosecute El Chapo (which means Shorty) if the drug lord ever makes it to US soil states PIX 11 News. However, El Chapo could be tried in six other jurisdictions that have been affected by the drug kingpin’s multi-billion dollar trafficking empire.

Senior Justice Department officials believe their attorneys in the Eastern District of New York have a strong case against Guzman, reports the Wall Street Journal. An unsealed 2014 indictment by the Brooklyn-based attorneys alleges that the Sinaloa Cartel boss “distribut[ed] more than 457,000 kilograms of cocaine and links him to more than a dozen murders and attempted killings.”

The other possible locations of a US trial against El Chapo are: San Diego, Chicago, Dallas, San Antonio, Miami, and New Hampshire. If El Chapo is tried in New York City, the focus of the case will be on drug trafficking activities dealing primarily with heroin, for which a ravaged New York City serves as the Northeast hub.

El Chapo caught the world’s attention after a brazen jailbreak in July 2015. The cartel chief escaped prison via a “a mile-long tunnel, traveling on a cart fitted on rails and powered by a motorcycle modified to run in a low-oxygen environment.” The notorious drug lord was recaptured by Mexican marines on Jan. 8 of this year.

If El Chapo is tried in either New York or Chicago, he will once again be familiarized with underground tunnels. In both jurisdictions, federal jails are connected to corresponding courtrooms via underground tunnels.

No final decision has been made yet by Justice Department officials regarding where El Chapo will ultimately be tried.

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