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Mexican Judge Approves Extradition of El Chapo to US

Bill Weinberg

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This week, a federal judge in Mexico ruled that drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán may be extradited to the U.S.—where he faces numerous charges of drug trafficking, kidnapping, money laundering and murder in Chicago, Miami and New York.

Mexico's Exterior Secretariat has 30 days to decide whether to approve the extradition, but Guzmán's lawyers say there are multiple appeals pending against extradition, and that to extradite him before these appeals 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. 

Chapo has already been moved to a prison on the U.S. border—which his lawyers are also challenging. Attorney José Refugio Rodríguez told Fox News Latino that 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.

The Mexican daily El Universal reported that Mexican authorities have seized 599 airplanes used by El Chapo's Sinaloa Cartel to smuggle drugs between 2006 and 2015. The exact figure of how many planes that 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 aircrafts.

(Photo Courtesy of Chron)

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