Mexican judge approves Chapo extradition

A federal judge in Mexico ruled May 9 that drug lord Joaquín "Chapo" Guzmán may be extradited to the US—where he faces numerous federal charges of drug trafficking, kidnapping, money laundering and murder in Chicago, Miami and New York. Mexico's Exterior Secretariat has 30 days to decide whethe to approve the extradition, but Guzmán's lawyers say there are multiple appeals pending against extradition, and that to extradite him before these are exhausted would be a violation of his human rights. Mexico's Third District for Penal Processes, which approved the extradition, says that all legal requirements have been met. The identity of the judge in the case remains secret under special rules in place for prosecution of cartel bosses. (Jurist, BBC News)

Chapo has already been moved to a prison on the US border—which his lawyers are also challenging. Attorney José Refugio Rodríguez told Fox News Latino he is seeking a judicial order—known in Mexico as an amparo—to return Chapo to the Altiplano maximum-security prison near Mexico City where he was previously housed. "Joaquín is complaining that the cell is dirty and ugly," Rodríguez said. The new facility—the Federal Social Readaptation Center (CEFERESO) No. 9 on the outskirts of Ciudad Juárez, across from El Paso—is said to have more than 600 guards and several drones watching over the 53-year-old kingpin, who is being kept in isolation and moved to a different cell every 24 hours..

El Universal reported that Mexican authorities have seized 599 airplanes used by Chapo's Sinaloa Cartel to smuggle drugs between 2006 and 2015. The exact figure of how many planes remain in the cartel's employ is unclear, but the newspaper's investigation found that the total almost certainly exceeds that of national airline Aeroméxico, which has a paltry 134.

Cross-post to High Times and Global Ganja Report

  1. El Chapo’s lawyers feuding?

    According to Business Insider, two of Chapo’s three lawyers held a press conference on May 27 to announce that they had filed an appeal to block extradition. The lawyers criticized Mexican government officials and called the extradition process unconstitutional. The report states a federal judge in Mexican temporarily suspended the appeal for 48 hours, pending a response to the motion from the government. A federal judge granted a provisional suspension of the extradition, giving the foreign ministry 48 hours to present its report justifying its actions within US-Mexico extradition guidelines.  But Chapo’s third lawyer, Jose Refugio Rodriguez, responded by loudly denouncing the other two who filed the appeal. The Associated Press reports that Rodriguez says it is not even a valid appeal because Chapo did not sign off on it, and he suggested the two attorneys who filed it did so out of "desire for notoriety."  (LawNewz, May 30)