El Chapo on prison life: ‘They are turning me into a zombie’

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Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman tells his lawyer guards aren't letting him sleep

"They are turning me into a zombie," the Sinaloa cartel boss said, according to his attorney

CNN  — 

Now that he’s back in a maximum-security prison, notorious Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman isn’t happy about life behind bars, according to his attorney.

In an interview with Mexico’s Radio Formula on Tuesday, Guzman’s lawyer said the drug kingpin feels that he is a victim of “physical and mental torture” because guards wake him up so often.

“He told me, literally, ‘Every two hours, at night, they wake me up to take roll. … They are turning me into a zombie. They do not let me sleep. All I want is just for them to let me sleep,’ ” attorney Juan Pablo Badillo said.

Since authorities recaptured him last month, Guzman has been inside Altiplano prison in central Mexico. It’s the same facility he broke out of in July 2015, slipping out through a tunnel in a brazen escape after he took advantage of a blind spot in a cell where the camera couldn’t watch him. Now, according to reports, security measures have increased dramatically.

The prison has installed 400 new cameras. Authorities hope to add another 600 by April. According to a report in Mexico’s “El Universal” newspaper last month, motion sensors now monitor his every move, dogs have been trained to detect his scent stand guard and prison floors have been reinforced with steel rods.

When he spoke with Guzman for about 25 minutes on Monday, Badillo told the Mexican radio station that his client also told him that a dog had been guarding his prison cell.

But sleep deprivation was what Guzman was most concerned about, Badillo said.

”’ It is brutal torture,’ he told me,” Badillo said. “This is what was done by Stalin in the ’40s and ‘50s in Russia.”

The lawyer’s comments drew swift criticism, even as the show aired Tuesday morning.

The show’s host read what he said was a response from a listener: “So now ‘El Chapo’ is yet another victim of the system. And the thousands of people who he had killed and who he poisoned with his drugs, who is protecting them?”

Guzman’s lawyer responded that such accusations against him must be better substantiated.

Mexican officials have said they’re doing everything they can to make sure Guzman doesn’t escape again and that the drug lord eventually will be extradited to the United States to face charges there.

Badillo said he didn’t have much time during his short visit with Guzman on Monday to discuss the possibility of extradition.

“He said, ‘We have to talk about it. But I want to be judged by Mexican laws.’ “

Nicknamed “Shorty” for his height, Guzman has been indicted in seven U.S. jurisdictions.

In the past, Mexican officials had bristled at the idea of extraditing him. But after his recapture this year, they were swift to say they’d be willing to send him to the United States to face charges.

CNN’s Emily Smith contributed to this report.