For the last two days of the year (posting days), I’d like to offer you some quick updates on two topics that consumed my blog in 2017. The first one, Joaquín Guzmán, better known as Chapo Guzmán, didn’t take up too much of my blogging time, although I expected him to. Therefore, today, I’d like to update you on the latest developments and the reason he didn’t figure too much on my blog this year. But before we jump into Chapo’s jail odyssey, I’d like to let you know that on Friday, I’ll follow up with the other topic that consumed my blog this year. You know who that is – Donald Trump. As I write this, I can’t believe I’ve made it through almost a year of the Trump presidency. Funny, I’m worried about Trump, while its likely that Chapo Guzmán has been literally consumed by four walls 23-hours a day.

As you likely remember, Chapo Guzmán was extradited from México on January 19, 2017 and delivered to prosecutors in New York. We all know that the Mexican government wanted Chapo out of México, making him the United States’ problem, but more importantly, the Mexican government timed the extradition to ensure that it was Barack Obama who was president when Chapo was delivered to the U.S. Hence, the January 19 th extradition, the day before Trump took office.

Since that day, Chapo Guzmán has been jailed in a New York prison awaiting his court date. During that time, Chapo has had difficulty hiring attorneys to represent him because of the limitations imposed upon him while he waits to go to trial. Initially, Chapo depended on public defenders to represent him. A few months ago, Chapo hired Jeffrey Lichtman, John Gotti’s attorney, to represent him. But money still seems to be the problem for attorney fees, as a few days ago, his attorneys have asked to postpone the trial from April to August because they have not been paid in full.

In the meantime, Chapo complained, through his attorneys, that he was being tortured by the prison restrictions being imposed upon him. The attorneys have told the court that Chapo is having mental difficulties because of the prison conditions. In November, the court ordered a psychological exam to determine Chapo’s mental capacity, or lack thereof.

Having already spent about a year in jail, awaiting trial, it seems that Chapo will spend another year before going to trial. But two important factors remain the same, drug trafficking in México remains a serious problem, with, or without Chapo and the “billions” that put Chapo on Fortune Magazine’s cover seem to have evaporated into thin air.

As much as magazines, pundits and law enforcement estimate the profits made by drug lords, it always seems like the estimates are super exaggerated. Chapo probably took steps to protect his money, but not being able to pay for his attorneys demonstrates that the “billions” were more a figment of many imaginations, rather than the reality.

Chapo will likely die in prison. But the saga of prison “torture” and lack of money for attorneys shows that often the mystic surrounding the drug trade is much more about fantasies to feed agendas, rather than reality. Drugs are still killing people, although most of the major drug barons are in prison, or dead. Chapo is off the streets, yet the drug trade remains unabated.

The question everyone should ask themselves, is why?

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...