Tagged: Juarez

Mexico grants extradition of drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman to U.S.

(USA TODAY) — Convicted drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman can be extradited to the United States, Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department said Friday.

The process can still be appealed, which means it could take weeks or months before the Sinaloa cartel leader may be sent north. Guzman’s lawyers have 30 days to appeal the decision.

Juan Pablo Badillo, one of Guzman’s lawyers, told Reuters he would file “many” legal challenges in the coming days.

If the extradition goes through, Guzman, who has escaped Mexican prisons twice and led authorities on a months-long search in 2015, will be transferred to U.S. Federal District Court for the Western District of Texas, according to a Mexican government website. The charges are conspiracy, organized crime, weapons possession, murder and money laundering. He will also be prosecuted in the Southern District of California on charges related to cocaine trafficking, according to the Mexican authorities.

The department said Friday that the United States has guaranteed that Guzman would not face the death penalty, which is not applied in Mexico.

Guzman made world headlines in July when he slipped out of his cell in the maximum security Altiplano federal prison and through a mile-long tunnel to freedom. The dramatic escape prompted a worldwide manhunt which concluded in January with his arrest following a deadly shootout in Los Mochis, a Mexican coastal city of 250,000 in Guzman’s home state of Sinaloa.

Attorney General Arely Gómez González said the search had drawn few valuable clues until Guzman reached out to actors and producers and began planning a biopic. That tipped off investigators to his location, and Gómez said a journey to the rugged Sierra Madre by American actor Sean Penn drew authorities to Guzman.

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‘El Chapo’ extradition to U.S. may proceed, Mexican judge says

(NPR) — Two days after drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán was transferred to a prison near Juárez, a Mexican city near the U.S. border, a federal judge in Mexico said the extradition process can move forward.

An unnamed judge said the “legal requirements laid out in the extradition treaty” between the U.S. and Mexico had been met, The Associated Press reports, adding that Mexico’s foreign ministry has 20 days to approve the extradition.

NPR’s Carrie Kahn reported in January that Guzmán had been “indicted on drug and arms trafficking, money laundering and murder charges in at least six U.S. states.” In July 2015, Guzmán he escaped from Mexico’s supermax Altiplano prison through a mile-long tunnel. He was recaptured in January.

But the judge’s go-ahead for extradition is one step in what could still be a lengthy process. Lawyers for Guzman can still try to block or delay any attempts to extradite the infamous leader of the Sinaloa cartel.

As the Two-Way has reported, the head of Mexico’s extradition office, Miguel Merino, warned in January that Guzmán’s legal team could pursue various appeals that could delay the drug kingpin’s extradition for four to six years.

Reuters reports that “Juan Pablo Badillo, one of Guzmán’s lawyers, said his client’s legal situation was still being processed and that to extradite him now would be a violation of his human rights.” The news service adds that “government officials have said in private that the decision to extradite the drug lord is essentially a political decision dependent on the president.”

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Introduction by the author

This book came about because of the kidnapping of an American newspaper photographer by a Juarez drug trafficker, a brutal and unprecedented event that caused an international scandal and brought about the downfall of one of the major drug traffickers of the time.

Until the kidnapping, I didn’t have much interest in the subject of drugs. Drug trafficking was part of the background noise of the El Paso-Juarez region where I worked as a reporter. It was low keyed even in its violence; it did not draw too much attention to itself. My journalistic work, which had begun for the El Paso Herald-Post in 1984, focused primarily on reporting on a political movement in northern Mexico that was challenging the entrenched one-party system that had ruled Mexico since 1929. Juarez, the largest city in the state of Chihuahua, was the scene of what today would be called a “color” revolution — a democratic movement that used tactics of non-violent resistance to achieve its goals. Such a revolution was unfolding only ten blocks south of the newspaper, just on the other side of the Rio Grande. Read more »