Sept. 28 (UPI) — A federal magistrate recommended that accused Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman be allowed to have contact visits with his lawyer instead of being separated from them by a window.
Magistrate Roanne Mann made the recommendation Wednesday in a court filing in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. She said that the former Sinaloa Cartel leader had only been able to contact lawyer Jeffrey Lichtman through video messages or a “scratched and dirty” Plexiglas window.
She said she doesn’t see a problem with the two men being able to meet face-to-face as long as Lichtman feels safe with his client.
“Cords and pipes can easily be covered, furniture and other equipment can be secured,” she said of items in the room that potentially could be used as weapons. She said Guzman could be handcuffed to make the interaction more secure.
Guzman, who has twice escaped from prison in Mexico, is being held in a high-security section of the federal jail in Manhattan.
U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan will review Mann’s recommendation before making a ruling.
“El Chapo” — meaning “The Short One” or “shorty” — so dubbed because of his 5-foot-6-inch frame, was first captured in Guatemala in 1993. He has twice escaped from prison since that capture.
Guzmán’s Sinaloa Cartel is credited with dominating the illegal drug market in nearly the entire United States, according to a report by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The report states the criminal organization is most powerful “along the West Coast, through the Midwest and into the Northeast.”