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'El Chapo' to remain in solitary confinement, US judge rules

'El Chapo' to remain in solitary confinement, US judge rules

A USA judge on Friday set an April 2018 trial date for Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman on charges he oversaw a multibillion-dollar global drug trafficking operation responsible for murders and kidnappings. Guzman's lawyers also sought more freedom to communicate with people in order to plan his defense, including his wife and potential witnesses.

The judge did, however, rule that Guzman could send pre-screened letters to his wife, Emma Coronel, who was present at Friday's hearing. Guzman is restricted to his cell for 23 hours a day, with the lights on at all times, and has not been allowed to speak to his wife or other family members. The judge said the matter will be investigated.

Guzman waived the conflict, telling the judge through a translator, "I would like to continue with my current attorneys because I feel well with them".

He asked to be put into the general prisoner population, a request that U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan firmly rejected.

"The conditions are reasonably necessary to ensure that defendant can not coordinate any escape from prison, direct any violence against cooperators, or manage any aspect of the Sinaloa Cartel's enterprise", he wrote.

In his most recent escape in 2015, Guzman walked out of prison through a mile-long, highly engineered tunnel from his cell, a sign of the huge influence he was able to wield even from behind bars.

7 shot during San Diego pool party; suspect dead
The witness said the gunman initially shot back at the officers, and three officers shot him to bring him down. Police said they do not have any information on the shooter and his motive at this stage.

NEW YORK (AP) — Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is returning to a Brooklyn courtroom Friday, a day after a judge rejected his request to be allowed in the general inmate population.

Federal Judge Brian Cogan said the US government could apply tough jail conditions on a man who escaped once through a mile-long tunnel stretching from the shower in his cell.

Guzman, who sold oranges as a child before turning to the drug trade in the 1970s, was extradited from Mexico to the United States to face drug trafficking charges there on January 19.

The 59-year-old is under indictment in a half-dozen federal courts but the U.S. Attorney's Office in Brooklyn is getting the first chance to convict him of charges that he ran the world's largest drug-trafficking enterprise, flooding the United States with $14 billion worth of narcotics and using violence to wipe out his rivals.

He spoke directly to the judge for a portion of the hearing during which Cogan ensured Guzman was willing to keep his lawyers from the Federal Defenders of NY despite government claims they could be compromised because four potential trial witnesses against him had been represented in the past by the same office.

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