Lawyers for the Mexican druglord El Chapo have said that their client's mental health is deteriorating because of the restrictive conditions he's held under in New York. According to local reports, court filings said El Chapo, real name Joaquin Guzman, had suffered "a marked deterioration in his mental state".
Guzman feels persecuted, constanty surveilled and is hallucinating, the filings reportedly alleged, with lawyers arguing that he should be psychologically evaluated. "It is plain to the defence team that something is not right with Mr. Guzman," the filings said, according to ABC7.
Defence lawyers for Guzman have previously said that he is kept under "unnecessarily harsh" conditions unlike any other prisoner in the US. "Even convicted prisoners held in the notorious federal Supermax in Colorado are allowed to watch television in their cells, exercise outside where they can speak with other inmates, and speak with their families," one attorney said, arguing that Guzman is afforded none of these benefits.
The main reason given for El Chapo's restrictive conditions is that he has twice previously escaped from prisons. Guzman was the head of the Sinola cartel and viewed by US authorities as the biggest cocaine dealer in the world.
In 2001, Guzman escaped a maximum security prison by hiding in a laundry cart - successfully evading capture until 2014. The next year, 2015, Guzman escaped from another maximum security prison through a tunnel into his cell, with some speculation that Guzman rode a motorbike down the tunnel to freedom.
He was re-arrested in 2016 and extradited to the US in January 2017 where he pleaded not guilty to 17 charges.
In July, Guzman's reported godson, Damaso Lopez Serrano, handed himself to the US Drug Enforcement Administration at a border crossing. Serrano was allegedly part of a bloody gang war within the Sinola and headed a gang known as "Los Antrax" in his attempts to take over the cartel.