Thursday, 19 January 2017

Mexico has extradited Sinaloa cartel kingpin Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán after months of legal battles

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The Mexican government said late on Thursday evening that it has extradited Sinaloa cartel kingpin Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, long considered one of the most powerful cartel bosses in Mexico and in the world.

Earlier on Thursday, the Mexican Supreme Court dismissed appeals filed by Guzmán lawyers in an attempt to halt the extradition.

"The judges decided not to hear the (appeal for) protection" from extradition, a source in the court told AFP.

That source said the court had passed the appeals to a different "collegiate" panel of judges for a ruling, and one of Guzmán's lawyers said that the kingpin's legal team would look at the court's decision and decide whether to appeal to a regional human-rights court.

However, in a statement released hours after that decision was announced, the Mexican government said Guzmán had been turned over to US authorities.

The Mexican government has received several extradition requests for Guzmán from several US District Courts. In May 2016, the administration of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto accepted two of those bids, from the Southern District of California and the West District of Texas, to try Guzmán on charges including homicide and drug trafficking.

It is not clear at this point where Guzmán will face trial, should his case not be concluded with a plea or deal prior to going to court. According to Mexican journalist Carlos Loret de Mola, the Sinaloa cartel chief was in the the airport in Ciudad Juarez, just a few miles from the prison where he was being held and right across the border from El Paso.

The Sinaloa kingpin was headed for New York City, Loret tweeted.

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