A Mexican man who pleaded guilty to distributing more than 2,200 pounds of marijuana for the Sinaloa Cartel sued the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Prisons in the U.S. District of Colorado on Thursday for subjecting him to overly harsh supermax prison conditions and solitary confinement after he refused to provide intelligence, Courthouse News reports. “No similarly situated cartel member under the jurisdiction of the BOP has received the ‘notorious’ designation that Mr. Paredes-Machado received. No plaza boss has been shipped off to ADX. Mr. Paredes-Machado constitutes a class of one, singled out for draconian punishment for no purpose other than to coerce him into speaking to the United States government,” the 45-page complaint said. The Sinaloa Cartel was led by Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman, also known as El Chapo, who was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years by a federal judge in 2019.
In the complaint, Marco Paredes-Machado compared his role as a plaza boss for the cartel to that of a regional distribution manager and that the U.S. government targeted him for access to organizational information. In 2015, Paredes-Machado was extradited to the U.S. where he pled guilty, was sentenced to 22 years in prison, and eventually sent to endure “complete isolation from the world at the Administrative Maximum Security Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado,” known as ADX. Rather than being detained at a low-security facility, the federal government arranged for Paredes-Machado to be held at ADX by accusing him of having connections to the Islamic State terrorist organization. The complaint accuses the U.S. of subjecting Paredes-Machado to unconstitutional coercion to speak with the government, as well as disparate treatment to similarly situated people, and violating the Freedom of Information Act by refusing to provide documents related to his transfer.