Arellano, considered one of Mexico’s most notorious drug lords from the late 80s until his arrest in 2002, has asked the judge in the case for a “compassionate release.”
According to his request filed in April, Arellano, who is now 68, says he is at risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus and is entitled to early release since he has served enough time in prison.
In 2011, he was extradited to San Diego and later pleaded guilty to racketeering and money laundering. He also agreed to pay a $100 million fine.
Arellano’s deal with the government called for a 25-year prison sentence of which he has served 10.
According to the Union-Tribune, judges may grant a reduction in a sentence if they find “extraordinary and compelling reasons” and as long as the person is not considered a danger.
Reasons include old age, terminal illness or “extraordinary and compelling” family circumstances.
According to the report, prosecutors argue Arellano does not meet any of these criteria, and although he is being treated for hypertension in prison, he has been vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19.
The article goes on to state that the serious nature of Arellano’s crimes also precludes Arellano’s early release, according to prosecutors.
“Defendant ran an international drug cartel. As the leader of the organization, Defendant supervised the importation of tons of narcotics into the United States and directed countless kidnappings and murders in furtherance of the cartel,” prosecutors said. “Conversely, there is nothing in Defendant’s history and characteristics that justify, excuse, or mitigate his egregious conduct.”
The Union-Tribune reported that upon receiving Arellano’s motion, U.S. District Judge Larry Burns ordered the federal public defenders’ office to review the motions and relevant documents to determine if he should be appointed a defense attorney. On May 27, a public defender wrote to the judge saying that an appointment of counsel was not recommended at this time.