“Char” for Borderland Beat 

This article was reposted and translated from RIODOCE

Former Sinaloa Cartel leader sends letter to “honorable Judge Cogan” for appointment of court-appointed lawyer; alleges he was extradited by trickery.

Joaquín Guzmán Loera, who was once considered the kingpin who trafficked the most drugs into the United States, filed a motion with the Brooklyn, New York, court last June arguing that the way he was extradited in January 2017 violated the extradition treaty between the two countries, as the US prosecution did not respect a Mexican court’s decision to only transfer him to federal courts in the Southern District of California or the Western District of Texas.

Instead, the kingpin was taken to a court in the Eastern District of New York, where he would face 17 charges, which was a world of difference between the charges he would face in the California or Texas courts, the only instances the Mexican government had authorized when granting the Mexican kingpin’s extradition.

Guzman Loera’s then defense counsel questioned the prosecutors as to why they had taken Guzman Loera to New York, when the extradition specified that he should be in a federal court in Southern California or West Texas, to which the prosecutors responded that the United States had made a special request to the Mexican government, via diplomatic channels, called Special Rule #17.

According to the motion, written and presented by Guzmán Loera himself, the prosecutors never presented a copy of the so-called Rule of Speciality #17, which is made through the Mexican embassy to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to bypass the obstacles that may exist at the time of an extradition.

“And they did not present it because the document did not exist. The prosecutors never filed a request with the Mexican government for the so-called Speciality Rule #17,” Guzmán Loera argues in his motion, a copy of which Ríodoce obtained a copy.

When Judge Brian Cogan, asked prosecutors why they had not produced extradition documents where the order to bring Guzmán Loera to New York could be read during the February 3, 2017 preliminary hearing, prosecutors handed over 82 pages on the “alleged” diplomatic request, and it was notorious that some of the pages had just been redacted.

“U.S. prosecutors, knowing they were lying to Judge Cogan and the defense, continued to fight the case, claiming in their May 26 motion that Guzman Loera had been legally extradited to the Eastern District of New York, through Specialty Rule #17. But it was a big lie because the prosecutors never requested extradition through the Specialty Rule, therefore, it was as if they kidnapped me,” reads the document signed by El Chapo.

A month and a half later, prosecutors responded to Guzmán Loera’s accusations:

“The defendant reiterates arguments previously presented before this Court, and in his prior motion to vacate sentence, and asserts unfounded allegations against the government, the Court and the Second Circuit. For the reasons discussed herein, the Motion is without merit, and the Court should deny it in its entirety.”

According to the motion filed by Breon Peace, the defendant argues that he was not extradited in accordance with the Special Rule, in addition to having received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial and on appeal on certain issues, and that the special administrative measures imposed on the defendant violated his rights, and finally says that the government engaged in misconduct.

Prosecutors add in the motion, that Guzman Loera’s allegations lack evidence, as it was never the United States who extradited the kingpin, but Mexico, and clarifies that prosecutors did file the Special Rule #17 document (the “SAR Waiver”), on February 14, 2017, and that it is false that such document was obtained through fraud.

“Defendant does not have standing to argue that the SAR Waiver is invalid, in fact, there can be no serious dispute that the Government of Mexico did not validly issue the SAR Waiver in accordance with its law and the U.S.-Mexico Extradition Treaty, that issue is not reviewable in U.S. courts,” the paper explains.

Alone against the world

In response to the prosecutors, Chapo sent a new motion to Judge Cogan, pointing out that he could not object to the prosecutors’ remarks, because he is alone and does not know the law, even worse, as he is defending himself as best he can, in his attempt to appeal his sentence, that he does not even have internet or access to any other tool to be able to defend himself.

“Honorable Judge Cogan (…) I do not know the law in the United States, I do not count in this place with a computer much less internet and I see the need to bother you to please appoint me a public attorney like the two lawyers you appointed me on January 20, 2017, so that I can make the second motion and can properly answer the motion presented by the prosecutors,” as read in a document written in Guzmán Loera’s handwriting.

“If I don’t have a public defender, I won’t know, or, rather, I won’t be able to understand what is written in the motion. Well, I don’t have any education; I only got as far as the second grade of elementary school, and I only learned to write, but I don’t know where to put a comma or a period. It’s possible that you could have noticed when you read my writing,” El Chapo says.

Sources familiar with the case said that if Guzmán Loera can somehow prove that prosecutors never obtained the diplomatic document “Rule of Specialty #17” in time, the case could take a 360-degree turn, as it would have effectively violated extradition laws, and the United States would have wrongly taken him to New York.

“But without legal representation, it’s going to be hard for that to happen, and he would be destined to lose his appeal,” said a lawyer familiar with the case.

Señor Guzmán 

Article published on July 30, 2023 in the 1070th edition of the weekly Ríodoce.