Mexico City, (EFE). – Drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is willing to plead guilty if extradited by Mexico to the United States in exchange for "a reasonable sentence" to be served at a medium-security prison, one of the Sinaloa cartel leader's lawyers said Thursday.
Attorney Jose Refugio Rodriguez told Radio Formula that he discussed this option with Guzman on Feb. 15 at the Altiplano prison in central Mexico and the drug lord accepted it.
The goal would be to negotiate "a sentence that is not too long, a reasonable sentence," with the United States, as well as imprisonment at "a medium-security prison that does not have conditions like the ones here in Mexico," Rodriguez said.
Guzman asked some time ago that an attorney be hired to represent him in the United States, Rodriguez said, adding that he contacted William Stuttgart and they have stayed in touch since May 2014.
"It's with him that we've seen that, instead of going to trial in the United States, ... we would have to negotiate," Rodriguez said, noting that the defense's strategy would be to get the best possible conditions for his client instead of fighting it out in court.
The fact that Guzman has escaped from maximum-security prisons twice does not justify the extreme measures taken at Altiplano, a policy that threatens his health, the lawyer said.
Government Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio said earlier this week that Guzman was being treated "like what he is, a criminal, and he is under measures to prevent ... a possible escape."
The drug lord is not being "mistreated," Osorio said.
Rodriguez, for his part, complained that Guzman's wife, Emma Coronel, is not being allowed to visit the prison, calling the situation "a violation" of the law.
Guzman, who was captured on Jan. 8 in his home state of Sinaloa, faces drug, money laundering, criminal conspiracy and other charges in Arizona, Texas, California and New York.
The drug lord escaped from the Altiplano maximum-security prison outside Mexico City through a 1.5-kilometer (0.9-mile) tunnel dug to his cell on July 11, 2015.
He had earlier busted out of a Mexican prison in 2001 and evaded authorities for more than 13 years before being recaptured on Feb. 22, 2014, in the Pacific resort city of Mazatlan.