Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the world’s most notorious drug kingpin, has a new home, a place where he cannot escape or do business, a dreaded stronghold in lower Manhattan sometimes called the Guantanamo of New York, the Los Angeles Times reports. He is being held in the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a featureless concrete fortress just south of Chinatown. The detention center has been the temporary home of mafia dons and terrorists, Ponzi schemers, and drug lords. “He has to know it is over,” said Jamie Hunt, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent in charge of the investigation. “He is in a U.S. prison now. He is not going to be able to communicate.”
Built in 1975, the 12-story structure has slit-shaped windows with frosted glass that prevents prisoners from peering out at the busy city. The facility holds about 700 prisoners who are awaiting trial. Among celebrity criminals to have passed through its gates are Gambino crime family boss John Gotti, scam artist Bernard Madoff, and terrorists Omar Abdel Rahman and Ramzi Yousef. Guzman is likely housed in the notorious 10 south wing, a segregated housing unit for prisoners who need to be separated from the general population. “It is worse than Guantanamo,’’ said New York attorney Joshua Dratel, who has defended high-profile terrorism suspects who were housed there. “It is about as soul-negating existence as there is in this country in the federal system.” The correctional center is featured in a soon-to-be published book titled “Hell is A Very Small Place,” about solitary confinement. A former prisoner is quoted as saying that the bed, desk, and seat were all made of concrete.