El Chapo Moved to Prison Near US Border
It's unclear exactly why the former drug kingpin was transferred
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted May 7, 2016 1:38 PM CDT
Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is escorted by army soldiers to a waiting helicopter last January.   (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)

(Newser) – Notorious drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was transferred Saturday from the Altiplano maximum-security prison outside Mexico City to a prison just south of the Texas border, AFP reports. El Chapo arrived in Ciudad Juarez along with 150 federal police officers aboard three planes and was taken from the airport to the prison by helicopter. CNN quotes Mexican authorities who say the move "was carried out with full respect for the human rights of the inmate." Government sources say El Chapo's new prison is "one of the safest" despite not being maximum security. The former head of the Sinaloa drug cartel has broken out of maximum-security prisons twice in the past.

It's unclear exactly why El Chapo was moved to a new prison. "I can't say what the government is thinking," one of his lawyers, who says the defense team wasn't notified, tells the AP. CNN quotes a Mexican official as saying the transfer to a prison closer to the border "makes it easier to extradite him" to the US. But the Mexican government has said that process is still a year or so away from being complete. Other authorities say Altiplano needed security renovations. But AFP quotes an official who says the transfer was routine and done "solely by security protocols as part of a rotation of prisoners." Authorities say they've rotated more than 7,400 prisoners since last September.