Mexico hoping to extradite El Chapo
MEXICO – Mexico’s government aims to fulfil a request from the United States to extradite the newly-recaptured drug lord Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman to face drug trafficking charges, sources familiar with the situation said on Saturday.
The Mexican Attorney General’s office will be working as fast as possible to establish the path to extradition, and Chapo could be sent to the United States by mid-year, one of the sources said. However the timing will likely depend on injunctions filed by Guzman’s legal team.
Guzman, boss of the powerful Sinaloa Cartel, is wanted by U.S. authorities on a host of criminal charges. His organisation has smuggled billions of dollars worth of drugs into the United States and is blamed for thousands of deaths due to addiction and gang violence.
“The objective is to fulfil the extradition request,” one source said.
Juan Pablo Badillo, a lawyer representing Guzman, said on Saturday that Guzman could not be extradited.
“In strict accordance with the constitution, he cannot nor should not be extradited to any foreign country,” Badillo told local television channel Milenio. “Why? Because he is Mexican, and Mexico has wise laws and a fair constitution, and there is absolute confidence in the prisons authority.”
Milenio cited Badillo as saying that Guzman’s team had filed six injunctions against extradition to the United States.
The United States requested Guzman’s extradition in late June, just a couple of weeks before his brazen escape from a maximum security prison through a mile-long tunnel which burrowed right up through the floor of his cell.
The failure to extradite him before his elaborate jailbreak strained relations with the United States.
Sending Guzman to the United States would help allay fears the drug lord could use his massive fortune to bribe prison officials and escape from a Mexican maximum security jail yet again.
Though the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Marshals helped in the recapture, American officials have taken no credit and instead lavished praise on Mexico.
“Criminals like Guzman-Loera are responsible for bringing hundreds of tons of illicit drugs into the United States every year, and are responsible for tremendous amounts of violence and death in our own country and across the world,” the U.S. State Department said on Friday. (Reuters)