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Drug lord 'El Chapo' Guzman 'desperate' for US extradition

Notorious cartel leader Joaquin Guzman has ordered his lawyers to press for his extradition to the United States. The two-time prison escapee fears for his health in Mexico, they have said.

Lawyers for Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman said on Wednesday that the imprisoned Mexican drug lord would like to be extradited to the United States as soon as possible. Defense attorney Jose Refugio Rodriguez said he would open negotiations with US authorities, despite the fact that he had earlier filed an injunction against his client's extradition.

"He can no longer take this situation," said Rodriguez, citing the practice of waking high-profile inmates every four hours to make sure they are still alive.

"He is isolated and segregated in a special area, separated from the other inmates. He told me that he was taken to a small room ... [and] doesn't see the sun," the lawyer added, telling French news agency AFP that his client was in a "in a moment of desperation" over his health.

After Guzman's January 8 recapture, authorities have taken the task of preventing another escape extremely seriously. The guard outside his cell must wear camera on his helmet at all times, and reinforced metal bars have been placed in the floor to stop another escape attempt via tunnel as happened twice in other prisons.

The 58-year-old leader of the Sinaloa cartel first went to prison in 1993, when he was sentenced to 20 years in prison for drug trafficking and murder. He escaped in 2001 by bribing his guards, and was recaptured in February 2014. He fled for the second time in July 2015 through a tunnel that led to a construction site nearby.

In the United States, where Guzman is also wanted on federal murder and trafficking charges, two courts have already formally requested the drug lord's extradition. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said she had reason to believe the Mexican courts would rule very soon on whether to send Guzman north to face trial.

es/sms (AFP, Reuters)

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