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El Chapo is extradited to the United States

Just a day before Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, on Jan. 19, 2017, Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman Loera, known as El Chapo, was extradited to the United States from Mexico.

According to reports, he may be incarcerated at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn, where cells measure 7 feet by 12 feet, the size of a living room rug, and have a toilet, sink, shower and metal seat. Inmates in MDC spend 23 hours a day in their cells with one hour allotted to a rooftop area with chain link fencing on all sides and the top.

The next court hearing for Guzman is on Feb. 3. Arnett Gaston, the former commanding officer of New York’s Infamous Riker’s Island prison says, “It will be very, very lonely for El Chapo. He won’t have cellmates to talk to.”

Angel Melendez, special agent-in-charge for Homeland Security Investigations, New York, said, “No tunnel will be built leading to his bathroom.”

With 17 counts against Guzman, prosecutors are seeking a life sentence and a $14 billion forfeiture in drug proceeds. Guzman has been charged with operating a continuing criminal enterprise, including murder, conspiracy, other drug-related crimes, money laundering and use of firearms.

Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Robert Capers said, “We had to assure the Mexican government that the death penalty would not be sought.”

The continuing problem of addiction

Although the apprehension and imprisonment of drug traffickers largely prevents them from continuing their criminal activities, it has no noticeable effect on the number of people who are addicted to drugs. Drug addiction is a brain disease, and an addicted person will go to any lengths to the exclusion of all else to obtain their drug of choice. It is gradually becoming recognized and accepted that drug rehabilitation is the best course for an addicted person rather than having them face court and possible jail time.

There are now police departments in the U.S. who will help addicted people receive treatment if they bring their drugs in and ask for help. Traffickers and drug dealers rely on their customers’ addiction to keep them in business, reaping huge profits. The more people are properly educated on the truly horrific consequences of drug use, the fewer people there will be to keep traffickers working and dealers in business.

It will take time to educate people but it is a worthy goal. Police departments and first responders are often stretched to the limit attempting to apprehend dealers and traffickers and respond to drug overdose victims. Although Guzman is now safely behind bars, there are many others willing and able to take his place. The combination of effective education and courts and police departments slowly changing their attitude to drug addiction is the more successful way to deal with addiction.  Replacing punishment with treatment gives those who are addicted a chance to begin a drug-free new life.

Seeking treatment

Sovereign Health is aware of the devastating effects drug use can have on people’s lives. We treat addiction with compassionate and professional therapy and stress on treating any underlying condition. Brain wellness and optimum cognition is part of our treatment as are other recreational therapies, including equine therapy, art, yoga, meditation and exercise. Call our 24/7 helpline for more information.

About the author

Veronica McNamara is a content writer for Sovereign Health. She is a former registered nurse who enjoys writing about the causes and treatment of addictions and behavioral health disorders. She is a proponent of further public education on the subject of mental illness which, unfortunately, still bears an unwarranted stigma. For more information and other inquiries on this article, contact the author at



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