US DEA/Handout via REUTERS
Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the Mexican cartel chief found guilty in a US court on Tuesday of running a criminal enterprise that smuggled drugs into the US, is likely headed to a "supermax" prison where repeating his past escapes would be nearly impossible.
No one has broken out of Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colorado, known as ADX Florence, since it opened in 1994 to house the most dangerous inmates in the US prison system.
"ADX is the kind of prison that was designed for a high-profile inmate like El Chapo," Larry Levine, a former federal inmate who is the director and founder of Wall Street Prison Consultants, told Reuters in a phone interview.
Guzman, 61, the Sinaloa cartel leader who escaped from maximum-security prisons in Mexico twice before his most recent capture in 2016, faces a possible life prison sentence at a hearing scheduled for June 25 in New York.
US authorities have been tight-lipped about where Guzman will be imprisoned. But it has been widely anticipated that, if convicted, he would be sent to ADX Florence, ever since his extradition to the US in January 2017.
"For someone like Guzman, the chances of escape from a facility like that are nil," L. Thomas Kucharski, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, told Reuters.
Officials from the US Bureau of Prisons could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
Below, take a look inside the ‘Alcatraz of the Rockies’
ADX Florence is part of a complex of prisons in a remote area about 115 miles south of Denver. The supermax facility there has been nicknamed the "Alcatraz of the Rockies," after the prison in San Francisco Bay that held gangster Al Capone in the 1930s and other notorious criminals.
A 2014 Amnesty International report found that more than 40 states were believed to operate super-maximum, or supermax, prisons, though the federal government only operated one: ADX Florence, which was the only level 6 prison — the highest security designation — in the US federal penitentiary system.
Regarded as the US’s most secure prison, ADX Florence is patrolled by heavy armed guards and surrounded by gun towers. Walls topped with razor wire greet inmates who arrive by buses, special vehicles, and, in some cases, Black Hawk helicopters.
"As soon as they come through the door … you see it in their faces. That’s when it really hits you," Robert Ward, ADX former warden from 2002 to 2005, told CNN. "The Supermax is life after death. It’s long term. … In my opinion, it’s far much worse than death."
Justice Department/Handout via Reuters
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Source: Business Insider