Mexican President: El Chapo Will Be Extradited ‘As Soon As Possible’

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Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said Friday his government is working to extradite Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán to the United States “as soon as possible.” The President talked about the case when he was asked specifically about Guzmán at the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland.

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is seen after his arrest on Jan. 8, 2016.(Credit: Handout/Al Tiplano)
Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is seen after his arrest on Jan. 8, 2016.(Credit: Handout/Al Tiplano)

“Evidently, there’s a whole process we have to go through that involves the judicial branch of our country, but the directive that the Attorney General’s Office has been given is to work and speed up this work to make this extradition of this highly dangerous criminal happen as soon as possible,” Peña Nieto said.

The Mexican President also reflected on the huge embarrassment that El Chapo’s July 11 escape meant for his government. Guzmán escaped through a mile-long tunnel that connected to his shower stall. The tunnel was fitted with a modified motorcycle that ran on tracks. It also had lighting and ventilation systems.

“It was for us, the government, without a doubt a difficult and tense moment when he [El Chapo] was able to escape from prison. … But the important thing is that we were able to re-apprehend him. The most wanted criminal in Mexico, one of the most wanted in the world, was re-apprehended thanks to an intelligence effort and consistent work of the public security forces in our country,” the President said.

Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office will continue to investigate Guzmán’s alleged crimes, he said.

Meanwhile, Guzmán attorneys are trying to block the extradition by filing injunctions in Mexican courts at the federal and circuit levels.

The Mexican Supreme Court Thursday denied one of those injunctions, calling it “notoriously inadmissible.” El Chapo’s attorney were apparently trying to have the highest court in Mexico issue a ruling on an injunction filed on a lower court before it was studied by the judge.

Joaquín Guzmán was captured on January 8 after a raid by the Mexican Navy targeted a safe house in the Mexican coastal city of Los Mochis, in Guzmán’s home state of Sinaloa. The drug lord was able to briefly escape, but was captured by federal police in a stolen car on the outskirts of Los Mochis along with one of his alleged lieutenants.

The Mexican government announced its intention to extradite the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel shortly after his capture.

Mexican Attorney General Arely Gomez noted the U.S. government sought Guzman’s extradition as early as June 16, before he escaped for a second time from a Mexican prison in July. She also said the extradition process may take anywhere from one to five years.

In addition to multiple drug trafficking and homicide charges in Mexico, Guzmán has also been indicted in seven U.S. jurisdictions and American authorities have said they’re working with their Mexican counterparts to get him extradited to the United States.

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