El Chapo Guzman, recaptured
Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán is escorted by soldiers during a presentation at the hangar belonging to the office of the Attorney General in Mexico City, Mexico January 8, 2016. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

After his second prison break, Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán had been in Mexico’s maximum-security penitentiary Altiplano since his January recapture, but authorites have just transferred the drug lord elsewhere. Guzmán has been taken to one of the country’s worst rated prisons, El Cefereso No. 9 as a precautionary measure.

The prison, situated in the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez, very near the border with El Paso, Texas, is said to have terrible living conditions for inmates but has reportedly scored well on “conditions of governability,” which is probably why the Mexican authorities chose it.

Even though Altiplano is considered Mexico’s highest security prison, that perception has changed after the drug lord pulled off his second escape in 2015. In addition, reports indicate that rotating inmates from prison to prison is a standard practice to interrupt any potential elaborate plans of escape.

Chihuahua Governor, Cesar Duarte, doesn’t believe this has any implication of risk for his state. “The decision to have him brought here is because there will be no escape," Duarte told the press. “If he was brought here from Altiplano it's because the security conditions are way above those of Altiplano, that's what the federal government settled on. ... So there is no risk of escape.”

The news is somehow confounding because Guzmán’s wife, Emma Coronel and his lawyers had been fighting for the durg lord to be kept in better conditions. His lawyers even threatened to reveal a list of politicians and public figures involved with Guzmán if they didn't improve the way he was living. So, since the Cefereso No. 9 got low marks for guaranteeing a "dignified" stay according to a rights commission report, it was strange to see the kingpin being transferred there.

The drug lord’s wife spoke to Ciro Gómez Leyva last March, and said she was granted a 20-minute visit to see her husband who she found in extremely poor shape. “I thought he would be better, but he looked much worse. As soon as I walked in, he told me he felt really bad,” Coronel said. Apparently, authorities had been waking Guzmán up every few hours to move him from cell to cell, and his blood pressure and anxiety are through the roof.

Coronel fears that the mistreatment and sleeping pills they’re giving him could lead to a heart attack or stroke. “They should explain why they’re playing around with his health,” Guzmán’s wife said, convinced that this is an attempt against his life.

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