Tuesday 23 May 2017

Mexican drug lord 'El Chapo' who was interviewed by Sean Penn can be extradited to the US

Actor Sean Penn shakes hands with Mexican drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman in Mexico during their meeting in October for a ‘Rolling Stone’ interview. Photo: Rolling Stone
Actor Sean Penn shakes hands with Mexican drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman in Mexico during their meeting in October for a ‘Rolling Stone’ interview. Photo: Rolling Stone
Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is escorted to a helicopter in handcuffs by Mexican soldiers and marines (AP)

Miguel Angel Gutierrez

A Mexican judge has ruled that drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman can be extradited to face charges in the United States, the country's federal court authority said on Monday, days after he was moved to a prison on the U.S. border.

Early on Saturday, Guzman was moved to a high security prison in the northern city of Ciudad Juarez on the US border, and a senior Mexican security official said the kingpin's extradition was in motion and would happen by mid-year.

Guzman, boss of the powerful Sinaloa Cartel, was for years the world's most wanted drug trafficker until his capture by Mexican Marines in February 2014. He then embarrassed the government by escaping from prison through a tunnel last July.

During his escape he carried out an interview with US actor Sean Penn for Rolling Stone magazine.

The government recaptured him in January and President Enrique Pena Nieto said soon afterwards that he had taken steps to ensure Guzman was extradited as soon as possible.

He faces charges ranging from money laundering to drug trafficking, kidnapping and murder in cities that include Chicago, Miami and New York.

Juan Pablo Badillo, one of Guzman'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.

Badillo said there were nine appeals pending against Guzman's extradition. However, government officials have said in private that the decision to extradite the drug lord is essentially a political decision dependent on the president.

A government source said on Monday nothing was likely to happen to Guzman for weeks.

He was returned to Altiplano, where officials beefed up his security regimen.

Reuters

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