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Mexico Extradites 10 Drug Suspects to US


The U.S. Justice Department says Mexico has extradited 10 alleged drug smugglers to the United States, including a former Mexican federal official.

Justice officials issued a statement saying the suspects arrived Wednesday in Texas, where some will face criminal proceedings. Others will head to California, Florida and Georgia.

The defendants include Armando Martinez Duarte, who authorities say once worked in Mexico's national attorney general's office.

Officials have alleged that he was the chief of security for the Arellano Felix drug cartel. Armando Martinez Duarte also is accused of protecting the organization from interference by Mexican law enforcement.

U.S. Ambassador Antonio Garza issued a statement, saying the extraditions are another example of Mexican President Felipe Calderon's determination to pursue the nation's drug cartels.

Wednesday's action brings a record 95 suspects extradited from Mexico in 2008. In 2007, 83 suspects were sent to the U.S.

All but one of the suspects are Mexican nationals. One defendant, Juan Diego Espinosa, is Colombian. He is wanted in Florida on federal drug trafficking charges related to cocaine shipments from Colombia through Mexico to the U.S.

Mexico is caught in a rising wave of drug violence as cartels battle for territory and fight a nationwide crackdown led by President Calderon.

The president has deployed tens of thousands of troops to try to stop the drug-related violence that killed nearly 5,400 people in 2008.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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