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El Chapo Is Likely to Spend the Rest of His Life in Supermax

Joaquín '"El Chapo" Guzmán, one of the most notorious drug lords in history, has finally hit a dead end in his running from the law. On Tuesday, February 12, a jury in Brooklyn convicted Guzman of ten charges related to drug trafficking; he will be sentenced in June. After that, the most prolific drug lord of all time may very well spend the rest of his life in Supermax, otherwise known as ADX Florence.

"I think that because of the notoriety of El Chapo, he will be sent to ADX," says Bernard Kleinman, a lawyer who has represented multiple convicted terrorists now incarcerated at ADX Florence.

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Located in Fremont County, ADX is known for being extremely secure, with some of its high-profile detainees spending 22 hours per day in their cells.

It won't be a surprise if Guzmán is sent there; after all, the former head of the Sinaloa drug cartel has a penchant for breaking out of prison. He first broke out of lockup in Mexico by reportedly hiding in a laundry cart. The second time, Guzmán escaped through a tunnel below a prison shower area and may have even ridden a motorcycle through the tunnel to freedom.

Given Guzmán's history of prison escapes and the fact that he's considered a high-risk individual, Kleinman believes the former cartel leader will also be placed under special administrative measures (SAMs).

"This allows the Justice Department to impose severe restrictions on an inmate’s access to outside individuals and materials and puts them under a much greater degree of monitoring," says Kleinman, who notes that even without SAMs, ADX Florence is "pretty much a solitary-confinement facility."

Assuming Guzmán will serve the rest of his days under SAMs in what's known as the "Alcatraz of the Rockies," escaping will be all but impossible. ADX Florence has been around since 1994 and has had a grand total of zero prisoner breaks.

Guzmán would share the facility with some of the most notorious convicts in American history, including the Unabomber, the Underwear bomber, close compatriots of Osama bin Laden's, and the highest-ranking CIA officer to ever be convicted of spying. Guzmán will also be near mobsters, Aryan Brotherhood members, and the former leader of the Gulf drug cartel.

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