Judge approves psychological evaluation for “El Chapo”

Judge Brian Cogan accepted to have a psychologist assess the mental state of the former head of the Sinaloa Cartel
Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán - Eduardo Verdugo/AP
08/11/2017
15:00
Victor Sancho
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The American judge overseeing the case against infamous drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán has approved to have a psychologist assess the mental state of the former leader of the Sinaloa Cartel to determine whether his current conditions at a federal jail in Manhattan are deteriorating his mental capacities.

During a legal audience which took place this Wednesday at the Federal District Court in Brooklyn, Judge Brian Cogan said he would allow the examination, however, at the request of the prosecutor, the psychologist will not be permitted to have direct contact with the drug lord. The assessment will be done through a glass, which, according to the defense, might have an impact on the results.

Eduardo Balarezol, the kingpin's new attorney, said during an interview with AFP that in the last month El Chapo has suffered from a “marked deterioration in his mental state”, and on a court filing, Balarezol claimed El Chapo is suffering from hallucinations, depression, “constant headaches”, and paranoia. “He repeats himself often and has trouble remembering people, places, and events.”

The defense attorney previously defended Mexican drug lord Alfredo Beltrán Leyva, sentenced to life after he was extradited to the United States in 2004. The attorney claimed there was no conflict of interest in him defending El Chapo, that his client agrees.

Joaquín Guzman, 60, faces 17 narcotics counts of which the first one alone – leading a continuing criminal enterprise responsible for importing and distributing amounts of narcotics – could get him a life sentence.

The American government so far has been unable to seize a single dollar of El Chapo's wealth, estimated at  $14,000 million dollars.

The Chapo's trial is expected in April 2018.

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