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Latin America

'El Chapo' Guzman one step closer to extradition

His lawyer says he plans to continue fighting the extradition of the accused drug lord.
20 Oct 2016 – 05:46 PM EDT
The world's most wanted drug trafficker was recaptured in January Crédito: AP

A Mexican court upheld the extradition of accused drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to the United States, but his defense lawyers says he plans to appeal the decision.

Following the decision by a Mexico City court his lawyer, Jose Refugio Rodriguez, told Univision News that the defense plans to exhaust all legal remedies, including Mexico's Supreme Court and international courts to prevent the extradition.

"The last word is not a district judge," he said. If we can show violations of human rights we can go to foreign courts and right here we have tools to stop extradition," he added. "In this war still lacks many battles."

If extradited, the boss of the powerful Sinaloa cartel faces prosecution in the Western District of Texas on charges of conspiracy, organized crime, weapons possession, murder and money laundering, as well as drug charges in the Southern District of California.

The U.S. Department of Justice last week declined to specify which state he would be tried in.

Guzman was transferred from the maximum security prison El Altiplano in May to to the Federal Center for Social Rehabilitation (Cefereso 9), located in the border city of Ciudad Juarez. He had previously escaped from the Altiplano prior to his recapture in January.

For four decades, "El Chapo" spread a network of trafficking operations marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines over several continents.

A senior Mexican government official said last week that Guzman woul;d likely be extradited to the United States in early 2017. "We expect (Guzman's extradition) in January or February," National Security Commissioner Renato Sales told local television.

Responding to Sales' remarks, Rodriguez said far too many appeals were pending for extradition to take place that quickly.

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