Mexico: extraditions to US reach record high

The US Department of Justice announced Nov. 1 that Mexico’s extradition of 11 fugitives to the United States the previous day has brought the number of extraditions this year to a record 100. The individuals face charges ranging from conspiracy to distribute and distribution of narcotics, to money laundering, molestation, and murder.

The announcement of the extraditions came the day before US Attorney General Eric Holder was due to meet with his Mexican counterpart Arturo Chávez. Holder applauded Mexico’s cooperative efforts with the US:

By ensuring that alleged criminals are held accountable, we send a strong message that fleeing across the border does not mean you will escape justice. I am looking forward to meeting Attorney General Chávez tomorrow and discussing additional ways we as law enforcement partners can work together to hold such defendants, particularly alleged leaders and associates of drug cartels, accountable.

The Mexican Prosecutor General’s Office also hailed the extraditions, conducted pursuant to the treaty between the US and Mexico, as “reinforc[ing] efforts to break down areas of impunity.”

Mexico’s increased cooperation with US authorities comes at a time when the US has promised a $1.4 billion aid package to Mexico, which allocates a large portion of its aid to law enforcement activities. Chávez became Mexico’s prosecutor general in September after the resignation of former prosecutor general Medina Mora was accepted by President Felipe Calderón. Chávez’s ascension to the office comes amid continued efforts to crack down on the Mexican drug cartels. Last month, more than 300 members of La Familia drug cartel were arrested by federal agents. In August, 10 accused Mexican drug cartel leaders and 33 others were indicted in New York and Chicago. In April, the Mexican Senate passed an amendment to the country’s constitution that would permit the government to seize property from suspected drug traffickers and other criminals prior to conviction. (Jurist, Nov. 2; Justice Department press release via PR Newswire, Nov. 1)

See our last post on Mexico’s narco wars.

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