Sinaloa Trafficker Complains of Conditions in Chicago Jail

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A high ranking member of Mexico‘s Sinaloa Cartel, imprisoned in the United States, has won concessions after complaining about harsh conditions in the Chicago prison where he is being held.

A U.S. judge ruled Thursday that Jesus Vicente Zambada Niebla, alias “Vicentillo,” be allowed outdoor exercise at Chicago’s Metropolitan Correctional Center while he awaits trial. Zambada has been denied outdoor exercise for the entirety of the 18 months he has been incarcerated, with prison officers citing security concerns.

During this time, he has been kept in isolation from the rest of the prison population in a solitary confinement area for high-risk prisoners. Zambada will now be allowed exercise time on a prison rooftop.

However the new warden at the prison, Catherine Linaweaver, has expressed concerns at the judge’s ruling. Linawever has pointed to the risk of the prisoner being assassinated or attempting to escape. She has also criticized the cost and effort required to provide specially trained staff to guard Zambada.

Zambada is the son of Ismael Zambada García, alias “El Mayo,”a top leader in the Sinaloa Cartel. He was arrested in 2010 and is awaiting trial on charges of trafficking tons of drugs into the Chicago area. His defense team contend that he trafficked drugs into the U.S. with the full knowledge and permission of U.S. law enforcement in a deal where he provided information on rival cartels in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

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