BROOKLYN — He wanted Oscar-winning actor, Sean Penn, to make a movie about his brutal life as a drug king. But Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Loera — most commonly known as “El Chapo” or “Shorty” — may be appearing in a Brooklyn courtroom before the cameras start rolling.
PIX11 Investigates has learned that the wheels are in motion between the U.S. and Mexican governments to get Guzman to the Eastern District of New York for trial. That’s 225 Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn.
“It will be the Eastern District,” one law enforcement source told PIX11.
The Eastern District is one of seven jurisdictions in the United States that has an indictment pending against the vicious leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, who’s accused of making billions in profits with his drug imports into this country.
Guzman boasted to Sean Penn in a “Rolling Stone” magazine article, “I supply more heroin, more methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world.”
Penn interviewed Guzman in 2015, when “El Chapo” was in hiding in his hometown of Los Mochis, Mexico.
Guzman had staged a daring escape from the high-security Almoloya prison in Mexico in July 2015, embarrassing the Mexican government. A mile-long tunnel had been dug by his associates beneath the shower stall in his cell, and Guzman used a motorized bike to get to freedom.
“El Chapo” had just been taken into custody in 2014, after spending 13 years on the lam, following a previous break-out in 2001 from a Mexican prison.
The U.S. Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, has been negotiating with her Mexican counterpart for Guzman’s extradition to the United States.
El Chapo has already been notified that extradition proceedings are moving along.
The reason why El Chapo will likely come to Brooklyn?
“It’s the strongest indictment,” said our PIX11 source.
One of the other pending indictments against Guzman is out of the Southern District in lower Manhattan.
Loretta Lynch was the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, when she unsealed a Superseding Indictment against Guzman in 2014.
It called El Chapo’s Sinaloa Cartel the largest drug trafficking organization in the world, with the vast majority of its drugs imported into the United States.
That means he’s accused of contributing mightily to New York’s heroin crisis, which is invading communities from Long Island to Staten Island—from the Hudson Valley to New Jersey.
New York City is the heroin capital of the Northeast.
The Brooklyn indictment charged the Sinaloa Cartel distributed nearly a half million kilos of cocaine into the U.S. between 2002 and 2014, “through a network of corrupt police and political contacts.”
It talked of “sicarios,” or hitmen, who carried out hundreds of acts of violence, “including murders, assaults, kidnappings, assassinations and acts of torture.”
The defendants, including El Chapo, were also accused of heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana distribution.
The Eastern District indictment was seeking forfeiture of Guzman’s property, “including but not limited to… a sum of $14 billion in United States currency.”
Any extradition of El Chapo could take several months — to a year.
The Mexican government had resisted such a move in the past.
But after Guzman’s two successful escapes south of the border, it is finally succumbing to U.S. pressure.