MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Friday he had told Mexican authorities to help two sisters and the mother of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman visit the drug lord in the United States following his conviction for narcotics trafficking.
Lopez Obrador also said Guzman’s mother, Maria Consuelo Loera, had asked that her son be repatriated to Mexico. He offered no details on that request other than that it had been forwarded to the Interior Ministry, which had no immediate comment on the matter.
The leftist president told his regular morning news conference he had received a written request through a lawyer from Guzman’s mother to provide “legal support” to Guzman and to help the sisters visit him in the United States.
“Like any mother, she was asking me to help her son,” Lopez Obrador told reporters.
“I gave instructions to facilitate everything so the sisters can go to the United States, and to help them in accordance with the law, and the rules of that country so they can visit him or be in contact,” he said.
Lopez Obrador later published the letter from Guzman’s mother on his Twitter account in which she asked for his help in repatriating her son to Mexico and getting humanitarian visas for herself and her daughters Armida and Bernarda to visit him.
The president said on Twitter he had omitted to mention the visa request included Guzman’s mother.
The letter was delivered to Lopez Obrador during a trip to Guzman’s hometown earlier this month after a jury in New York found him guilty of drug trafficking and other charges. Guzman, 61, will be sentenced in June.
Guzman escaped from maximum security prisons in Mexico in 2001 and 2015 before his third and final capture in January 2016. A year later, Mexico extradited him to the United States on the eve of President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Guzman rose to prominence as the boss of the Sinaloa Cartel, which security experts and counternarcotics officials long described as the most powerful outfit in the trafficking of drugs to the United States.
Trump has justified his repeated demands for a wall to be built on the U.S.-Mexico border with the need to stop drugs and illegal immigrants entering the United States.
Lopez Obrador, who has sought to avoid conflict with Trump over his wall plan, is exploring the legalization of some drugs. During his election campaign he floated the idea of granting amnesty for less serious drug-related offenses.
In a court filing on Friday, a lawyer for Guzman said the capo intends to seek a new trial after one of the jurors who convicted him told Vice News that jurors read media about the case despite the judge’s instructions not to.
(Reporting by Dave Graham and Adriana Barrera; editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Bill Trott)