Federal prosecutors said they will ask for Guzman, who twice escaped prison in Mexico, to be given a life sentence without a chance for parole.
Given the drug lord’s violent decades-long career smuggling tons of narcotics in the United States, it is likely Guzman will be sent to a federal supermax prison.
According to Bob Hood, a former supermax penitentiary warden, the 61-year-old Sinaloa cartel leader is the perfect candidate for one called ADX Florence—dubbed the “Alcatraz of the Rockies”—in Fremont County, Colorado.
“There’s no question in my mind that Guzman will be going to the Supermax prison in Colorado,” Mr Hood told NBC News.
ADX Florence was created with the intention of being the most secure prison facility in the country, a good match for Guzman. It is the only supermax prison in the US.
ADX Florence is located in high, unforgiving desert terrain south of Colorado Springs. It holds more than 400 prisoners, many of whom are convicted terrorists, gang members, and criminals classified to be too risky and dangerous for even maximum security prisons.
It is home to some of the most world infamous criminals including Boston Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Ramzi Yousef, who plotted the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing. It also housed terrorist Ted Kaczynski, 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, and Terry Nichols, an accomplice of the Oklahoma City bombing.
Despite its already extreme security, Mr Hood believes Guzman will be put under “special administrative measures” to restrict visitation rights and limit his contact with other prisoners in the facility.
“He’s such a high-profile person that, in my opinion, he’ll never be allowed on the yard with other prisoners for the rest of his life,” Mr Hood added.
At ADX Florence, the prison cells are typically 7-foot-by-12-foot and have a small window measuring about 4-inches, preventing prisoners from seeing the sky. Mr Hood said the inmates are also only given an hour outside each day in a small caged area.
The prisoners are permitted to read the newspaper or watch television, but Mr Hood believes that, considering the drug kingpin’s size of network, Guzman will only be provided old newspapers and entertainment.
The former supermax warden said these additional limitations are “designed to put a shield between [the prisoner] and the outside world,”
While working as a supermax prison warden, Mr Hood said he tried to make the conditions as humane as possible, but added, "I’m not foolish, the place is not designed with humanity in mind. It’s tough.”
In addition to Mr Hood, Jodi Avergun, a former US attorney for New York’s Eastern District, and who led the office’s narcotics division, told NBC News that she also believes Guzman will receive a life sentence and be sent to ADX Florence.
“I don’t think there’s any way a judge can ignore the prior evidence of his escapes and violent history,” Ms Avergun said. “The judge won’t vary from that, even though the guidelines aren’t mandatory.”
The main concern regarding Guzman, Ms Avergun said, is not whether he will escape, but whether inmates will work to earn the “legendary” drug lord’s favour and endanger the other prisoners who testified against him.
She added, “Another reason El Chapo has to be separated and segregated is that there are a lot of cooperating witnesses in this case that need to protected.”
Guzman is scheduled to be sentenced on June 25