Federal officials fear Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman could compromise thousands of federal drug investigations after his legal team gain access to secret DEA documents.
The kingpin’s lawyers will become privy to thousands of sensitive DEA documents that detail his activities in the international drug trade.
And Feds fear that that hundreds – or even thousands – of investigations could be compromised if moles on his legal team use the information to warn other drug lords of the DEA’s moves.
Prosecutors have been to court in Brooklyn to ask a federal judge to allow them to screen every one of his potential foreign lawyers, TMZ reports.
The judge, who is presiding over Chapo’s drug trafficking case, issued an order allowing prosecutors to appoint a specific lawyer to carry out the screening.
The designated lawyer is known as a ‘firewall attorney’ – someone who works in the US Attorney’s Office but is not involved in the Chapo case.
However the ‘firewall attorney’ does work in the same office as the prosecutors.
If he or she raises a red flag against one of Chapo’s potential lawyers, a recommendation will go to the judge who could prevent them from joining his defense team.
The notorious Mexican drug lord is likely to spend the rest of his life in a maximum security prison if convicted on a raft of firearms, drug trafficking and conspiracy charges – is accused of running one of the world’s biggest drug empires.
Lawyers for the 59-year-old, who escaped twice from prison in Mexico, say his ‘physical and mental health’ is deteriorating, and he is suffering hallucinations.
El Chapo, head of the deadly Sinaloa cartel responsible for thousands of deaths in Mexico’s brutal drug wars, has been held in solitary confinement since being extradited to the US on January 19, and spends 23 hours a day alone in his cell.