Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzman has been helicoptered out of New York City and is being transferred to the high security prison in Colorado where he will serve a life sentence.
The Mexican drug kingpin was spotted boarding a chopper at the Wall Street helipad in lower Manhattan at around 3am Friday as a number of heavily-armed guards and more than a dozen NYPD squad cars stood watch.
According to flight records obtained by DailyMail.com, the helicopter transported Guzman to Floyd Bennet Field in Brooklyn, where he was placed on a plane bound for the United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colorado.
Commonly known as ADX, the fortress is the only federal super-maximum prison in the US.
Guzman, 62, is gearing up to spend the remainder of his life at the prison that’s home to America’s most notorious criminals, including ‘Unabomber’ Ted Kaczynski, Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and 1993 World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef.
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Mexican drug kingpin Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzman was helicoptered out of New York City under cover of night at around 3am Friday. He will serve his life sentence at ADX in Florence, Colorado, the only federal super-maximum prison in the US
Guzman is seen boarding an NYPD chopper at the Downtown Manhattan Heliport as heavily armed guards stood watch
More than a dozen NYPD squad cars escorted Guzman to the helipad during the highly-secretive transfer mission
According to flight records obtained by DailyMail.com, the helicopter (above) transported Guzman to Floyd Bennet Field in Brooklyn, where he was put on a plane bound for the US Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colorado
Guzman (pictured in 2017) was convicted of drug-trafficking charges and sentenced to life behind bars on Wednesday
Guzman’s transfer was executed within hours of Guzman’s being sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday as officials feared the drug lord could attempt yet another daring jail break.
US District Judge Brian Cogan initially agreed to a recommendation that Guzman should remain in federal jail in Manhattan for an additional two months to help his lawyers mount an appeal, but authorities opted to ‘get him out of the city as soon as possible’ in light of his past escapes, defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman confirmed.
Guzman is expected to be held in ADX’s most isolated section, Range 13.
He will be barred from visits by his beauty queen wife, Emma Aispuro Colonel, and their seven-year-old twin daughters.
‘It’s not a place designed for humanity,’ Robert Hood, warden of the prison dubbed ‘Alcatraz of the Rockies’ from 2002 to 2005, told the New York Post.
‘It’s one click away from the death penalty. All of a sudden, one day you’re put in a box and not cared about — that’s the punishment.’
Guzman, 62, will spend the remainder of his life at ADX in Florence (pictured), a fortress that’s home to some of America’s most notorious criminals, including ‘Unabomber’ Ted Kaczynski, Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and 1993 World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef
The drug lord is expected to be held in ADX’s most isolated section, Range 13
ADX has come under fire by civil rights activists who say it is inhumane to subject inmates to such long-term isolation
The vast majority of prisoners at ADX are allowed out of their cells for only a few hours a week. All exercise activities take place in highly-secure cages like the ones seen above
Robert Hood, who served as the warden of ADX from 2002 to 2005, said of the facility: ‘It’s not a place designed for humanity’
Guzman is only the third inmate in the prison’s 25-year history to be placed in Range 13, the first two being Yousef and Tommy Silverstein, a triple murderer who spent decades in solitary confinement.
The prison has come under fire by civil rights activists who say it is inhumane to subject inmates to such long-term isolation.
The vast majority of prisoners at ADX are allowed out of their cells for only a few hours a week, for exercise, occasional visits to a ‘law library’ cell, social or legal visits, and medical consultations.
When removed from their cells, inmates are placed in full restraints and escorted by two guards.
They are forced to eat all meals inside tiny cells just feet from open toilets.
The grim facility is seen in photographs from human rights group Amnesty International, which has decried the federal government’s lack of transparency about jail practices.
Guzman has broken free from two Mexican high security prisons in the past. He is seen above being escorted by soldiers during a presentation in Mexico City in 2016
US District Judge Brian Cogan (left) initially agreed to a recommendation that Guzman should remain in federal jail in Manhattan for an additional two months to help his lawyers mount an appeal. However, authorities opted to ‘get him out of the city as soon as possible’ in light of his past escapes, defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman (right) confirmed
El Chapo timeline
1993: First arrest in Mexico
2001: Breaks out of jail for the first time with help of guards
2014: Is rearrested in Mexico after 13 years on the run
July 2015: Breaks out of prison for a second time through secret tunnel
October 2015: Meets with Sean Penn and Kate Del Castillo in Mexico. Days later, the safe house is raided but he escapes
January 8, 2016: Captured in Los Michos
January 9, 2016: Sean Penn’s Rolling Stone article is published
January 2017: Extradited back to the US
October 2017: Netflix documentary about meeting from Kate Del Castillo is published
November 2017: El Chapo’s lawyers say his mental health is deteriorating
November 2018: Trial finally begins
February 5, 2019: Closing arguments in the trial
February 12, 2019: Jury reaches verdict
July 17, 2019: El Chapo is sentenced to life in prison
July 19, 2019: Kingpin is transferred to ADX supermax prison in Florence, Colorado
Guzman had been the subject of extreme security measures carrying an untold cost ever since his extradition to the US in 2017 to face drug-trafficking charges.
Authorities were determined to prevent any repeat of Guzman’s legendary jailbreaks in Mexico.
The first was in 2001, when he escaped with help from guards.
The second took place in 2015, when he fled through a mile-long tunnel dug to the shower in his cell.
Guzman was put in solitary confinement in a high-security wing of the Manhattan jail that has housed terrorists and mobsters.
‘I drink unsanitary water, no air or sunlight, and the air pumped in makes my ears and throat hurt,’ he said at sentencing.
‘This has been psychological, emotional and mental torture 24 hours a day.’
For pretrial hearings in Brooklyn, authorities transporting Guzman to and from jail shut down the Brooklyn Bridge to make way for a police motorcade that includes a SWAT team and an ambulance, all tracked by helicopters.
Once the trial started, they secretly kept him locked up in the bowels of the courthouse during the week to make the logistics less arduous.