Mexico turns over drug lord 'El Chapo' to the US

Darin HammondJan 21, 2017

One said the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration took custody of Guzman in Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, and a plane carrying him departed for NY at 5:31 p.m.

In May, the Mexican foreign ministry approved extradition bids from California, where he is wanted for drug distribution, and Texas, where he faces charges including murder and money laundering.

On Thursday Mexico's Foreign Relations Department announced Guzman's extradition via Twitter, writing, "The Mexican government today extradited Joaquin Guzman Loera to the U.S.".

US authorities have been waiting for Guzmán's extradition for many months.

Guzman arrived in a small jet at Long Island's MacArthur Airport after nightfall on Thursday from a prison in Juarez in Mexico's northern state of Chihuahua, where his cartel rules. He could face the possibility of life in a US prison if convicted.

The new indictment alleges that Guzman operated a continuing criminal enterprise between 1989 and December 2014 that passed numerous quantities of drugs into the United States that earned him more than $14 billion in cash proceeds from the sales.

Hollywood actor Sean Penn might make a cameo appearance at the Brooklyn trial of notorious Mexican drug kingpin Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán. "We are deeply grateful to the Government of Mexico for their assistance in securing Guzman Loera's extradition". Guzman will be prosecuted for drug trafficking and other criminal charges in a Brooklyn court.

Guzman was airborne shortly after the announcement, a spokeswoman for the Mexican Attorney General told ABC News. The latest occurred in 2015 when he escaped through a tunnel that had been dug underneath his cell.

The convicted leader of the Sinaloa cartel was awaiting an arraignment in Brooklyn.

Mexico however did not put "a whole lot of thought" into the timing of extradition, which came just a day before Donald Trump's inauguration, "but it certainly isn't a bad thing", the officer added. He has been indicted in at least seven United States federal courts.

Leading the Sinaloa cartel, he oversaw perhaps the world's largest transnational cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine smuggling operation, playing a key role in Mexico's decade-long drug war that has killed over 100,000. "That is what I can tell you", he was quoted as saying.

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