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Mexican judge rules El Chapo can be extradited to the US to stand trial

El Chapo

El Chapo was shipped to a penitentiary in Ciudad Juárez on Saturday as part of a regular rotation of prisoners, according to Mexican officials. Photograph: Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images

A Mexican federal judge has ruled that Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán can be extradited to face trial in the US, days after he was moved to a prison on the border with Texas.

Mexico’s foreign ministry now has 20 days to approve the extradition, a political decision which Guzmán’s lawyers described as a foregone conclusion.

“We’re convinced the (foreign ministry) will concede this request for extradition,” José Refugio Rodriguez, one of the lawyers representing Guzmán, told the Guardian. “It’s been government policy. For a number of years now, the government has granted all of the United States’ extradition requests,” he said.

On Saturday, the Mexican government shipped Guzmán to a penitentiary in the border city of Ciudad Juárez, saying it regularly rotated federal inmates around the country and was initiating work to “reinforce security” at the Altiplano prison near Mexico City, where he was being held.

Guzmán, one of the most senior members of the Sinaloa cartel, was Mexico’s most wanted kingpin until his capture by Mexican Marines in February 2014.

His escape from Altiplano last July – through a mile-long tunnel which opened into his cell-room shower – humiliated the government of Enrique Peña Nieto.

Mexico had previously been unwilling to extradite Guzmán, but after hisrecapture in January the president said that he would ensure that Guzmán would face justice in the US as soon as possible.

He faces a range of charges in the US including money laundering, drug trafficking, kidnapping and murder.

Guzmán’s legal team promises to seek an injunction against extradition.

Refugio was uncertain when Guzmán might be extradited, but the said the appeal process could take “years”.

Source: The Guardian

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