After two prior successful escapes, drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán was arrested in 2016. He was later extradited to the United States to face multiple charges, including drug trafficking and homicide.
A legal team was assembled to defend him, including a young woman straight out of law school named Mariel Colón Miró.
In this video, Mariel reveals how stumbling upon a Craigslist ad after graduation led her to work on behalf of the cartel leader – and eventually got her a job on the legal team of another notorious man, the now-late Jeffrey Epstein.
In 2017, Mariel Colón Miró was four months out of law school and looking for a way to earn money while she waited on the results of the New York State bar exam. Then she found a job listing on Craigslist for a Spanish speaking paralegal, she applied right away.
She got an interview, where she was told the firm needed someone to communicate with a client in a big upcoming case. Once Colón Miró got the job, she finally asked who the defendant was.
“I think I’ve heard that name?” she remembers thinking when the hiring attorney told her whom the firm would be representing. “Then I googled who this person was and I’m like, Holy shit!”
What you can take away from this: “A craigslist ad” ?! Never underestimate anything.
More on Colon Miro & El Chapo:
Mariel Colón Miró grew up in Puerto Rico and studied music business at Loyola University New Orleans. She enrolled in law school in Puerto Rico and transferred to Hofstra after her first year.
As a junior attorney on the team, Colón Miró filed creative motions making arguments that had a strategic impact on the case. She had a super power, which was the ability to relax and put El Chapo at ease.
This impressed the all-star team of defense attorneys Guzmán hired. With El Chapo, not being American and familiar with our justice system, he didn’t trust everyone who worked on the case, but he trusted Colon, stated one of the senior defense attorneys.
Colón Miró saw the effect her visits had on El Chapo, who was kept in solitary confinement and was forbidden to speak with his wife. Aside from one hour of television a day, Colón Miró’s meetings with El Chapo were his only substantial interaction with the outside world.
“MCC is a very inhumane place, especially if you’re in the solitary housing unit,” Colón Miró said. “It is not a sanitary place. You can see rats walking around. It is nasty. Other clients have told me there’s mold on the water faucets, the AC is never clean. You can actually see the dust and mold.”
Guzman wasn’t allowed any outdoor activities including exercise time, most likely on account of his two successful escapes from prison in Mexico.
When Colón Miró filed a request to allow him to outdoor privileges, the government responded by citing a 1981 escape attempt in which an inmate’s accomplices hijacked a tourist helicopter and tried to break him out of the MCC prison yard.
“Mr. Guzmán is strong minded,” she said. “If you’re not strong minded, it is definitely going to ruin you psychologically. It is torture in that prison” Colon Miro said.
After Jeffery Epstein was arrested at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, he was brought to New York and put in a cell three doors down from El Chapo at the MCC, so the two were actually neighbors, but only for a night, Epstien was moved to another cell the following day.
Not long after Epstein’s arrest, Colón Miró was brought onto his legal team by Marc Fernich, another of Guzman’s attorneys who took on the Epstein case.
“She doesn’t scare, she’s not intimidated by grisly accusations or situations against clients. She deals with them as human beings.” Said Fernich
It wasn’t long before Colón Miró was visiting Epstein at the MCC regularly. She wouldn’t talk about the specifics of her interactions with Epstein except to say that, like El Chapo, she saw him as innocent until proven guilty. “I don’t think that he’s the monster that the press made him out to be, at all.”
According to senior attorneys, El Chapo insisted Colón Miró work on his appeal. Fernich and Colón Miró visited Guzman at the supermax prison ADX in Florence, Colorado, known as the “Alcatraz of the Rockies.
” She said that El Chapo isn’t adjusting well to life in a supermax. Though he now gets outdoor exercise time, he doesn’t get many visits. “He seemed sad, everything about him is different. His demeanor, his eyes, even his hair, they shaved his head. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been convicted of the most heinous crimes or horrible crimes, I don’t think that anybody deserves to be treated that way.”
El Chapo Guzman Sentencing:
In July of 2019 Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years, and was ordered to pay $12.6 billion in forfeiture.
In January 2022, a federal appeals court upheld the conviction of the Mexican drug lord El Chapo Joaquin Guzman, who sought to overturn his conviction in Brooklyn federal court. The appellate court concluded “none of these claims has merit.
Among Guzman’s arguments, the strict conditions of his confinement before trial inhibited his rights to prepare a defense and benefit from the assistance of counsel.