Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

An inside look at life behind bars for Chapo Guzman at altiplano prison

Chivis Martínez for Borderland Beat revised BB archive post

'Centro Federal de Readaptación Social Número 1 "Altiplano"
No.1 is Mexico’s only recognized “Supermax” prison; its history is free from escape, so it can be no surprise that the most notorious capos are sent to No.1 for incarceration.
The prison is located Santa Juana neighborhood of Almoloya de Juárez, in the State of Mexico. Detailed attention has been given to prevent escape, overhead airspace is restricted, cell transmission restricted to 6 miles, 3 foot thick walls, regular polygraphs given to all level of personnel, an armored vehicle convoy, state of the art technology that can pin point the logistics of equipment  and people,  and officers trained in repelling escape, are on site and ready to react in the event of an escape attempt.

Chapo Guzman has joined Miguel Treviño Morales at in Altiplano No.1 Prison,  transferred from PGR facilities  in Mexico City.

The two capos now accompany those on a
long list of notorious narco-bigs who were housed there in the past and those presently incarcerated at No.1;   Édgar Valdez Villarreal "La Barbie" BLO, Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo "El Padrino" "The Godfather, Gerardo Álvarez Vásquez, alias "El Indio" BLO,   to name a few. [Chapo was transferred in 1995 from No.1 to Puente Grande Maximum security prison in Jalisco.  He escaped from the Jalisco prison 6 years later].

The United States has filed for the extradition of Miguel Treviño,  
There is a US indictment waiting for him.  As for Chapo, US has filed with Mexico for extradition.  I strongly feel an agreement was cut between Mexico and the US and the extradition will occur.

The prison is under the direction of a woman, a psychologist named Marissa Quintanilla.  Quintanilla, who has both an economics degree and psychology degree, has been assigned to No.1 for a year, but has 14 years working in the federal prison system, in Icesave Sinaloa and Matamoros, Tamaulipas.

Quintanilla literally lives at the prison.  24/7 it is her home.  The self-imposed  “incarceration”, is a self-preservation necessity.
In an interview with Televisa a year ago Quintanilla explained other reasons that require her to live at the prison;

“I am permanently here, 24 hours a day, this is a full time processing center, then there are hearings, etc. the center operates day and night", what if I am  required in the middle of the night?, I could be called for at any hour”
She was asked when she is able to sleep, “I get very little, but even if it is three hours, it is comfortable, relaxed sleep, I sleep very well”, answered the director.

Quintanilla speaks about the consequences of being director of a prison such as Altiplano No.1.
"My family is far away, very secured.  Though they are very proud of my work, they are also sad, because at this time it has been 16 months of not seeing my mother”. 
She believes in the rehabilitation of these offenders, with the help of their families and society, in working together the rehabilitation of offenders is possible, that treating offenders in a humanizing manner will have a positive impact.
Over the top humanizing say her critics.
From the menus [click any image to enlarge], to the private visiting rooms, sans bars, she has been criticized for her approach, which her detractors tag as dangerous and “soft”. 
"I am asked; hey why do so many things for the offenders, how do you think the victims feel? "
"I answer that my role is not working with the victims; it is to work with offenders, to rehabilitate, so in that way the institution does something for the victims, and society, by working for the prevention of crime. "
Other features of Quintanilla’s prison plan for inmates are offering education through high school,  and work shop and training, utilizing outside businesses contacted with the prison. 
The prison population has grown to 1,200 inmates with plans for expansion.  250 inmates are deemed “high risk” or “dangerous”, having been sentenced for Offences of Drug Trafficking, kidnapping, Organized Crime operations.
As for fear, she maintains healthy fear is good, it keeps you alert in your surroundings, allows good decisions, but the type of fear that can be paralyzing to the point of paranoia, you will miss signs and that can result in you losing your life.
According to information made public in 2011 the cost to feed inmates was about 4 USD per day.  There are no current figures made public.  I can say from personal experience, the kitchens I have constructed in Mexico for impoverished children serve meals at 12 cents or less per meal.
The state entered agreement with the foundation to; train volunteers [usually mothers] to prepare food and hygiene, a certified nutritionist creates the balanced menu, and the food is delivered to the site and we are charged government or surplus prices.  
The meals are nutritious but far from the fancy food on the narco-menus.  We serve breakfast for the morning school session, and dinner for the afternoon.  Food ranges from pancakes, scrambled eggs, fruit and carton of milk for breakfast, to ham and cheese sandwich, fresh fruit, soup and juice or milk for dinner, everything is prepared fresh on site in our kitchens.  We also use a lot of soy which the children like.  We supplement the meals with a snack, such as a biscuit and drink, or frozen fruit bar depending on the weather.  
The  meals from No.1 presents a good case of “What’s wrong with this picture??” 
From El Universal, below is a video tour of the prison with Quintanilla translated narrative follows.
Video narrative no 1 Altiplano
Max-Prison menu: What do incarcerated capos eat?
How much does it cost for  Mexicans to feed the inmates of the Altiplano penitentiary, maximum security prison that lodge some of the most dangerous criminals of the world of drug trafficking.....continues next page...


Aztec soup [tortilla soup], fried chicken and pizza are just some of the meals that prisoners such as Edgar Valdez Villarreal, aka La Barbie, Jose Jorge Balderas aka El J.J., Osvaldo Garcia Montoya aka El Compayito or Teodoro Garcia Simentel aka El Teo or El Tres Letras (3 letters), among others, enjoy.

A meal that may not be as sophisticated as these characters are used to eating when they were free, it is richer in nutrients and reaches the balanced classification and the stability of the nutritional pyramid that it is requires by the experts and of course to which most of the Mexicans don’t have access to.
Well, the last official information that we have regarding this, was given on September of 2012 throughout the informative media Vanguardia, which quotes as its source; El Universal in Mexico State, who made a visit to such penitentiary
For 21 years, the penitentiary of maximum security of Altiplano in La Palma, Mexico State has been defined as a fortress in which 1,200 inmates, considered by justice as the most dangerous of the country, serve their sentence. It is impossible to go in unless you have authorization from Government Secretariat and up until now, there has not been any inmate that has escape from it.
Directing this federal penitentiary is Marissa Quintanilla, whose job is not limited to her office. All day including dawn, she goes to several areas and allowed El Universal accompany her during her daily tour.
Marissa speaking:
These are the familiar visiting rooms; they are individual (per inmate)
We have light equipment, sound and screens for movies; we regularly have activities every day, in the morning and afternoon. Practically, all cultural events are celebrated here, the event of (inaudible), masses; events with their relatives are done in this auditorium.
Today we have this menu: noodle soup, rice, picadillo (ground meat with potatoes), beans, tortillas, horchata flavor water and apple for dessert. All these kitchen utensils can propose a risk that is why we have precise control of each of the utensils. The only person allowed to enter is the person responsible using the fingerprint reader. Every one of the utensils are numbered and engraved.
Entry is also generated by using fingerprints. We use the shadow system, so we know, for example, say we loan this (screwdriver),  I am not showing the name, we have the card of the person that borrowed it and we have registration log, so when the shift ends, they have to come and leave the tool, take their card and register their exit. Everything is perfectly controlled. Every tool has its inventory number engraved and painted.
 It is an established laundry program; we pick up the uniform from the inmates. The uniforms consist of three changes, but each change is washed every eight days and the bedding, jackets, and blankets are washed every 15 days.
Here is the library; the inmates don’t come in here, what we do is that we take books in a cart to their dorms. They have the opportunity of getting two books and they can exchange them in, eight days but they have to do a summary of the book they read.
Under the new integral model of social reinsertion, the Director Quintanilla explained that along with her work team, are focused in humanizing the federal penitentiary system, generating more activities for the inmates in a less restricted environment. Until now, the results have allowed the penitentiary to be one of the most peaceful penitentiaries of the country.

Looking ahead subsequent to extradition to the U.S.
Gringo prisons open for Mexican narcos.Once upon a time they fornicated with Wealth: collector automobiles, exotic animals, jewels, houses appraised at millions of dollars, where luxury and exaggeration were the main ingredients; gold plated faucets, oak dining rooms for the diners, Florentine marble, collector cars and brand new cars waiting at the door, yachts, motor skis.  But, above all, people working exclusively for them.

They were the narco chiefs that, with blood, fire and a great ingenuity for transporting tons of drugs from Colombia to the United States and for laundering money, built an empire.

Until one day, sometimes as a result of their own ostentatious lifestyle, they ended up in the grip of United States justice. Today, they survive in the shadows, in maximum security prisons, some awaiting death under a life sentence. Others watch time go by, knowing that their life is not long enough to serve their sentence. And others see the sky once in a while, aware that time goes by slowly for them, but that on a day already determined by a judge, the prison's doors will open for them.

Javier Torres, El JT,  Benjamin Arellano Felix,  Vicente Zambada Niebla,  Jesus Vicente Zambada Garcia, "El Rey,"  Miguel Angel Caro Quintero,  Hector Luis Palma Salazar "El Guero,"  Juan Jose Quintero Payan,  Francisco Javier Arellano Felix,  Sandra Avila Beltran,  Ismael Higuera Guerrero "El Mayel",  all of them from Sinaloa, and all of them narco bosses in one or another area of the country,  from different cartels and, at one time or another, they all serve sentences or await sentencing in some jail in the United read full post link here

from Victor Figueroa and information from Doris Comora: El Universal Television


  1. do the prisoners have contact with other prisoners or is it complete isolation?

    or does it matter who you are? Do the big time players locked up get to talk to other big time players locked up in the same facility?

  2. Omg please stick him with the DEMON POSSESED z40 n put it on ppv

    1. Jajajaja now that's a good idea; someone call golden boy, don king, or any of those other motherfucking promoters lol

    2. @3:26 p.m lol.i think they ought to throw la barbie in for sport!

  3. This is great info, but doesn't mention any of the under-the-table privileges the narcos are reputed to be able to buy, like access to electronics. Phil Jordan was adamant that Chapo will be able to continue running CDS from behind bars. Is Jordan wrong, and this prison is the one that doesn't allow inmates to buy luxuries? Or is info on it just hidden?


  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I wonder if you take that picture again today ,if there still going to be smiling like that ?

  6. As long as these asshats get extradited to the U.S. then all is good at altiplano

  7. Le querían hacer la pregunta, pero esperaron a tenerlo sentado en el asiento de piel del avión Learjet 60 de la Marina.
    Había tiempo. 75 minutos de vuelo entre Mazatlán y el DF.
    La Operación Gárgola había concluido cinco días después de lo planeado porque Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán Loera usó el complejo sistema de túneles para huir de Culiacán al amanecer del 17 de febrero. Finalmente fue detenido en Mazatlán por la Marina —que desde el sexenio pasado ha sido la más eficaz contra el crimen— y la nueva Agencia de Investigación Criminal, a la que muchos llaman “la nueva PGR”.
    Pero había algo que no se explicaban los altos funcionarios de inteligencia que llevaban años estudiando al más buscado del mundo. Y se lo preguntaron:
    —¿Por qué cuando te nos escapaste de Culiacán no te fuiste pa’ la sierra? ¿Por qué te quedaste en Mazatlán donde sabías que era más fácil para nosotros rastrearte?
    —Ya me iba a ir pa’l monte, pero no había visto a mis niñas.
    Y en efecto, la cuna de viaje con las dos cuatitas durmiendo —las más pequeñas de los 16 hijos del capo— estaba en la recámara contigua a la habitación en cuyo baño fue aprehendido el líder del cártel de Sinaloa.
    Quienes lo acompañaron en vuelo lo describen tranquilo, carismático, francote, de marcado acento sinaloense, apretando las facciones del rostro para enfatizar sus ademanes con los brazos casi pegados al cuerpo, que no grita ni insulta, pero cuando algo lo incomoda o no quiere contestar con la verdad su lenguaje corporal lo delata: mueve los hombros alternadamente como si fueran remos en lago y se acomoda en la silla.
    Le preguntaron sobre Rafael Caro Quintero. Reveló que cuando salió de la cárcel se juntó a comer con él en la sierra. Estuvieron como una hora. Explicó a los funcionarios de la Marina y la PGR que Caro no tiene interés en regresar al negocio de la droga, que está enfermo, viejo y con la certeza de que ya pagó sus culpas. Le cuestionaron dónde se escondía: en la sierra, soltó con desparpajo El Chapo.

    Habló de sus aliados y rivales.
    De Servando Gómez La Tuta y Los Caballeros Templarios dijo que eran unos “rateros mugrosos”. Y se diferenció: “Yo soy un narcotraficante. Yo no secuestro, ni robo, ni extorsiono, ni nada de eso”.
    Dijo que su compadre Ismael El Mayo Zambada estaba en el monte y que su otro socio, Juan José Esparragoza El Azul, seguramente andaba por Guadalajara.
    Sobre Los Zetas, relató que Heriberto Lazcano El Lazca “era mi enemigo, pero era un caballero”, pero despreció a Miguel Treviño, el Z-40.
    Dijo que los Beltrán Leyva, que eran sus operadores, lo quisieron matar cuando se fugó del penal de Puente Grande en 2001.
    “Maté a dos mil o tres mil”, confesó sin tapujos. Contó que mandó asesinar a Ramón Arellano pero no al cardenal Posadas, sobre cuyo caso respalda la versión oficial de que todo fue una confusión: “Yo pensé que los Arellano venían en el Grand Marquis, eso me dijeron mis escoltas”.
    Dijo que no es rico —“ese es un invento de Forbes”— pero las autoridades informaron que le incautaron tres relojes de a 150 mil dólares cada uno, 16 casas, 47 vehículos y señalan que cada tres días una mujer, apodada La Michelle, le llevaba una adolescente de entre 13 y 16 años de edad, quien recibía 100 mil pesos por un día de trabajo sexual.

  8. sounds like Arkham Asylum

  9. There is absolutely no prisoner contact at ADMAX where Mr. Guzman will end up.

    In a cynical way, that's the worst thing it does. There is no way one can live off there crimes there. For instance in a general population prison, one can brag and boast, and exercise intimidation based off past exploits and convictions. "O look, there is that guy who went on that killing spree".

    From the Unabomber, to the shoe bomber. Traitors, founding members of the American street gangs, and all of the richest dope pushers.. They are all there, living in cells right by one another, and have absolutely no idea.

    Soon they will be joined by Chapo, and nobody will be there to greet him.

  10. Didn't this same article run a few years back when La Barbie was arrested?

  11. 1:29PM read the top of post for your answer. Ac ouple of people wrote and suggested I repost my article on the prison, I thought it was a good idea. I have another I am looking for

  12. Some DEA have said that keeping Chapo in Mexico, will mean businesses as usual. for their information, the US supermax in florence is not always a deterrent to "businesses as usual" ...just ask puppet martinez from 18th street (look it up)

  13. It is nice to hear that there has not been one escape from this prison. It is a point of pride in Mexico. I pray that the prison continues to have great success. They should make the laundry baskets over five feet tall to prevent Chapo from slipping out. LOL.

  14. Am wondering the same thing what special priviledges to the big guys get since they have funded the govt

  15. (Lea satíricamente, con 'la sinceridad' demasiado dramática)

    Señores, Políticos, importante Mafia Big Shots, y común "Two-Bit" traficantes de droga por igual... ¡ Bienvenido! ¡ Bienvenido! ¡Y otra vez sea bienvenido!

    Queremos hacer su permanencia con nosotros, en su destino de viajes, una de comodidad y facilidad. Sinceramente pedimos que, si debería tener alguna solicitud personal, se acerque a cualquier de nuestros empleados, como somos oyen para asistir en la facilitación de todas sus necesidades personales. ¡Estamos orgullosos de ser número un en el alojamiento! Otra vez dé la bienvenida a compañeros, estamos muy contentos de tenerle con nosotros.

  16. According to some reports, having realized that Chapo was without a heavy security detail, the Marina decided that was the
    perfect opportunity to catch Chapo. WTF! You mean to tell me the Marina didn't have the balls to catch el capo unless he was by himself. That might confirm what a Catholic priest said a while back that the authorities knew where JAGL was at but made no attempt to catch him. Apparently the Marines/Army/Fed. police wanted a bloodless no-casualties operation while capturing the capo, something that wouldn't have happened in the Sierra where a heavy presence of Chapo's armed men would have been present. Then again after what happened in Culiacan this past week in a half, not a shot would've been fired! Welcome home to your new/old home Capa Guzman.

  17. We are going to forget about chapo very soon, just like everyone else that goes to prison. Buy it might take a little longer for the "cheerleaders"

  18. @ CHIVIS, I have tried emailing you regarding your articles. Is the email listed on the website, the correct one to reach you at?

  19. Chivis, school them on the Supermax.
    A list of current inmates would be cool.

  20. But chapo is the richest .Where Is ALL THE MONEY

  21. for supermax info see article link at the end of the post. I included an extraction and a link to the full article.

    as for sending me articles...I am sorry I am so behind in my emails, can you send to this email: and put "articles" in the subject line. thanks so much

  22. @CHIVIS. Thanks Chivis, I just emailed you. Thanks for responding I have been emailing your wrong email for two days.

  23. @ CHIVIS. I'm not looking to send you articles. I've been emailing you for business purposes regarding your articles. Just wanted to be clear. All the details are in the email, I just sent to your hushmail, email you just provided me.

    Please respond when you are free. Thank you.

  24. How is it that there's so many pictures of chapo inside the prison. all it takes in Mexican prisons to get what ever u want is intimidation and money.

  25. "There is absolutely no prisoner contact at ADMAX where Mr. Guzman will end up."

    Tati from the CA Mexican Mafia was killed on the yard there while out with 3 other CA EME'S and ABs

    "In a cynical way, that's the worst thing it does. There is no way one can live off there crimes there."

    Look up puppet martinez who ran a large crime syndicate from said prison while in ADMAX.

    For instance in a general population prison, one can brag and boast, and exercise intimidation based off past exploits and convictions. "O look, there is that guy who went on that killing spree".

    In US prisons, its how you carry yourself that counts, not what you're in for. I've seen guys come in for killing 3 or 4 rival gang members, cry when placed on a unit full of them. to look at the pictures of some of the guys arrested before Chapo, one would think they wouldn't last week on a CA level 4 hard yard. they look flabby and sickly, they probably were multiple murderers, but they had 20 other guys with them all carrying assault rifles against one or two doesn't take a lot of heart to be a montonero, you just have to be abusivo...the US gang members are looking forward to these guys hitting US prisons so they can extort them for protection money. The us gang members doing life have spent most of their lives behind bars, not in some mansion enjoying the good life. ever notice how fast the mexican criminals snitch? its because they aren't used to the hard realities of prison, unlike their US counterparts who take pride in doing time. Not all cartel mexicans are punks and some will hold their own, but a lot of them are in for some real challenges at the hands of other inmates itching to get some of that money or establish drug contacts...they've even stated as much, at least the CA gangsters have said so

    1. You must be speaking about the prisons that are in the same county in Colorado.

      ADMAX is a 480 bed facility for males. Its sits alone, its not the same yard your talking about, the fences don't even touch.

      They're not even as close as Old Folsom and New Folsom.

      Try righting a letter to Puppet Martinez, and on the same day send one to Juan Garcia-Agregó.

      The latter being able to kill or have someone killed is not at ADMAX. If you can give interviews from where he is, He ain't at ADMAX.

      Garcia-Agregó excercises in an empty cement bowl hooked to a chain.

      Your letter would be "broadcast" on a little b&w tv in his room only once. They don't allow Keepsakes at ADMAX.

  26. Chivis,

    is Mexico planning to build more prisons? They would have to if they plan to get serious about crime...and its big money for the construction workers, guards, judges, and law enforcement. its a whole industry that could create lots of jobs and a good excuse to start collecting taxes from the people who want feel safer.


    1. 5:18pm
      He already has more than once.

  28. All they want is mexico to b normal drugs will never stop there getting rid of all the violent jefes...&sicarios...

  29. "Michelle, le llevaba una adolescente de entre 13 y 16 años de edad, quien recibía 100 mil pesos por un día de trabajo sexual."

    Go and google translate that Chapo fanboys. Your homie/idol Chapo is a pedophile!

    1. In Mexico its not considered that.

  30. Que Rico se ve el menu, ni un servidor come d ESA manera,que puedo hacer para ingresar al Artiplano,que Rico manjares????a


  32. There is absolutely no superior race! All of us pretty much suck, equally!
    The world is full of fools, and "tough" guys are some of the best examples.
    America's intentionally dysfunctional "race-based" prison-gang system, is a bluntly effective way for the ruling classes to intimidate the "working-poor" (formerly known as the middle-class) into unquestioning compliance.
    It's as if they are saying,
    "Look! Either you cooperate with our New World Order or you'll be sorry! We'll send you to prison where you'll be outnumbered by "real" criminals, you'll be forced to conform to our ignorant-macho-racist gangs. And guess what? The guards are dirty too! So you can expect to be raped, brutalized, murdered... and nobody will care. So there! So what's it gonna be? huh?"

    It's no wonder a growing number prefer a "Death By Cop" suicide, to prison.
    Justice is denied when the victim is punished while the guilty is protected.
    Justice is denied when any individual does something deserving of death,
    and yet they end up living like royalty, even if they happen to go to prison.
    Justice is served when ANY such individuals are summarily executed.
    Swiftly, soberly, and seen.

  33. "I answer that my role is not working with the victims; it is to work with offenders, to rehabilitate, so in that way the institution does something for the victims, and society, by working for the prevention of crime. " - End of quote

    Just let her fall into their grasp and she will learn how "reformed" her charges really are!!!
    They will soon make mincemeat of her!!!!
    What stupid ideas this woman has!!!!!

    1. you got it …i was there totaly innocent ….they will never change …what a silly woman

  34. Im pretty sure shes been at it a while. She has taken care of herself thus far.. its just crazy how they dont try to segregate the capos, they just send them into a jail where they all are, sounds like a good place to make contacts

  35. @4:07 PM: stated as it is!

  36. With a prison like that there is no wonder they all fight tooth and nail to avoid extradiction.

    1. This is a brief, very interesting report from yesterday that's about Mexico's legislators speaking out against extradition to the US for Guzman.

  37. "You must be speaking about the prisons that are in the same county in Colorado." NOPE

    ADMAX is a 480 bed facility for males. Its sits alone, its not the same yard your talking about, the fences don't even touch. OK

    Try righting a letter to Puppet Martinez, and on the same day send one to Juan Garcia-Agregó. WHY WOULD I DO THAT, I DON'T ADMIRE CRIMINALS

    The latter being able to kill or have someone killed is not at ADMAX. If you can give interviews from where he is, He ain't at ADMAX. NEVER SAID HE GAVE AN INTERVIEW.


  38. A high school education? I think hes too rich and long in the tooth for that!

  39. Does anybody rember the letter a year or more ago about whos gonna snitch on who? M1 is dead i think 50 is too then it said bravo was gonna snitch chapo out and rl fanstama el mayo. I just find it weird but maybe the letter was tru? What you guys think???

  40. 3:18 i saw manlio fabio beltrones "la fabis" saying this criminal this, and this criminal that, but nobody is asking him about his record of warrants on the US for drug trafficking and money laundering, same with bertie boy and manuel cavazos lerma, the US wanted them, accused them, made public their charges, now the US has been silent for a loooong while, wanna know WHY?

  41. 1:16 the most interesting bomber is missing, what a lack of respect.
    The Underwear Bomber, that is a guy that really put his ass on the line, i don't know the injuries he sustained, but he must have really stained his underwear, wonder what will come next.

  42. El chapo will escape i promise you that

  43. well hes finally escaped, he took his time about it eh!!?

  44. "'Altiplano' No.1 is Mexico’s only recognized 'Supermax' prison; its history is free from escape"

    Ahem...Some editing now needed...

    "'Altiplano' No.1 is Mexico’s only recognized 'So-So max' prison; its history is _not_ free from escape"


  45. Chapo must have called their bluff and threatened to start naming names of the highest officials in Mexico and the USA that have taken money from his organization. Now they are moving him out of Altiplano to a less secure prison inside his own cartel's boundaries because of it. There he will live like a king and walk out the front door again when ever he pleases. Mexico and the USA are the most corrupt governments on the planet!!!


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