Judge orders COVID-19 test for Hector ‘El Güero’ Palma

“MX” for Borderland Beat

Hector ‘El Güero’ Palma in 2016
A judge in the State of Mexico ordered prison doctors to conduct a COVID-19 test to Hector ‘El Güero’ Palma, a former leader of the Sinaloa Cartel. Palma claims to have health complications and said that prison authorities have not allowed him to see a doctor. In the appeal, the judge stated that doctors should monitor his health conditions and see if Palma has any COVID-19 symptoms.

Should Palma test positive, the judge instructed prison authorities to give him the necessary medical treatment to facilitate his recovery. By law, prison authorities are permitted to bring an external medical team to treat inmates who suffer from COVID-19. The judge instructed the prison to do that should they need it.
Palma is currently imprisoned at the Federal Social Readaptation Center No. 1 (“Altiplano”), a maximum-security prison in the State of Mexico. He headed the Sinaloa Cartel along with Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, but his criminal career was cut short.
In 1995, he was arrested while heading to a wedding on his private jet. While flying his jet suffered engine problems and he had to do a forced landing near the Jalisco and Nayarit state borders. His arrest confirmed what many Mexicans had long known: in Mexico, the police are for sale and drug lords are purchasing them. When Palma was arrested, most of his entourage were active members of the Federal Judicial Police (PJF).

Palma was imprisoned at the Federal Social Readaptation Center No. 2 (“Puente Grande”), the infamous prison where El Chapo escaped in 2001. In Mexico, Palma won several appeals and had his charges dropped multiple times. However, in 2007, Palma was extradited to the U.S. and sentenced for his drug trafficking involvement.

He was deported back to Mexico in 2016 and was re-arrested by Mexican authorities who were waiting for him at the border crossing. He was imprisoned for his outstanding charges in Mexico. He is currently facing trial for murder.

Sources: La JornadaExcelsior; Reforma (subscription required)