By Thatiana Diaz
May 09, 2017 06:20 PM
Credit: U.S. law enforcement/AP

Joaquin Guzman, known as “El Chapo,” returned to court this past weekend in New York City to receive his trial date, which was set for April 2018 by U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan. The Mexican drug lord, 59, was arrested on 17 counts including numerous murders and kidnappings during his time allegedly overseeing the multibillion-dollar international Sinaloa cartel.

Present in the courtroom was his wife Emma Coronel Aispuro, a former beauty queen who waved at her husband from the second row of packed courtroom. The two reportedly locked eyes several times. Aispuro, 27, had not been allowed to visit or communicate with El Chapo but the judge ruled that they could now send pre-screened letters.

Credit: Mexico's federal government via AP

In March, Guzman’s lawyers stated that the confinement of their client is taking a toll on him. “His meals are passed through a slot in the door; he eats alone,” they said in court documents. “The light is always on. With erratic air conditioning, he had often lacked enough warm clothing to avoid shivering.” The defendant lost the bid to loosen the restrictive conditions of his confiment.

Mexico’s attorney General Raul Cervantes recently announced that the U.S authorities have not found any money or trace of the illegal assets that belonged to Guzman. “As of today, U.S. authorities have not found not even one dollar of El Chapo’s assets,” said Cervantes. “His money hasn’t been found because he didn’t use the financial system.”

Guzman was captured last year after escaping from prison in Mexico twice and was extradited to the United States in January 2017.