El Chapo complained about New York jail. Let’s see how Supermax works out.

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The notorious Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has been sentenced to life behind bars in a U.S. prison. A federal judge in Brooklyn handed down the sentence Wednesday. (July 17)AP, AP

Notorious drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, unhappy with his treatment at a federal lockup in New York during and after his trial on drug trafficking charges, probably won’t find his permanent federal digs at the “Supermax” prison in Colorado much more amenable.

A federal judge in Brooklyn sentenced Guzmán last week to life in prison plus 30 years. He was handed a restitution bill of more than $12 billion.

Guzmán made a rare public statement at his sentencing, chastising authorities for conditions at New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center that he equated with “torture.” He said he was denied access to sunlight and forced to drink unsanitary water. He said he had to use wadded-up toilet paper as earplugs to sleep amid noise from an air vent near his cell.

Guzmán, 62, lit into authorities for keeping him from his wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, and young twin daughters.

“Since the government will send me to a jail where my name will not ever be heard again, I take this opportunity to say there was no justice here,” Guzmán said. “It has been psychological and mental torture 24 hours a day.”

His future is likely to be bleak, but the prison will at least be newer. Guzmán, who has a brutal reputation and a history of escapes, punched his ticket to the Administrative Maximum U.S. Penitentiary, or ADX. He arrived at “Supermax” on Friday.

The so-called Alcatraz of the Rockies opened in 1994. It’s home to the infamous, from Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and Oklahoma City bombing accomplice Terry Nichols.

Supermax, in an old mining town two hours south of Denver, is surrounded by razor-wired fences and gun towers, monitored by armed patrols and attack dogs. 

Inmates are held in isolation for 23 hours a day. They eat in their cells, have little human interaction and only a 4-inch window looking out into the bleak world that surrounds the 380-man prison.

“Supermax is austere, and it is run with absolute structure and security in mind,” Lindsay said. “From an operational perspective, it’s the most secure prison on earth.”

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