Big-league Mexican drug traffickers imprisoned in the U.S. are contending that unnecessarily harsh conditions – locked up alone in ultra-high-security confinement – take a physical and psychological toll and may violate U.S.-Mexico extradition treaties, reports the Houston Chronicle. The courthouse pleadings for relief come from men who cut their teeth and made their names in a criminal underworld that has carried out unheard of levels of brutality in Mexico, including murder by beheading, mutilation, hanging, and massacre.
A federal judge yesterday conceded the claims have some merit. He ordered that Jesus Vincente Zambada Neibla, whose father runs the Sinaloa Cartel, a criminal syndicate in which Zambada was a ranking member, should be let out of his cell for outdoor recreation time on a roof top. He has been largely confined to a windowless 10-by-6-foot cell for “18 months of isolation without seeing the sun or breathing fresh air,” contended his lawyers. He and others admittedly are part of cartels that for decades have pushed tons of cocaine and marijuana into the U.S. “The word on the street in the United States is you can’t bribe your way out of prison or bribe your way into better living conditions,” said former Houston federal prosecutor Mark White. A federal appeals court is deciding whether it is legal to hold Jesus Hector “El Guero” Palma Salazar, a Sinaloa Cartel founders, in isolated custody at the so-called supermax prison in Colorado.