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'El Chapo' Cleared for Extradition to the United States

  • VOA News

FILE - Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is escorted to a helicopter by Mexican soldiers and marines in Mexico City, Jan. 8, 2016

FILE - Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is escorted to a helicopter by Mexican soldiers and marines in Mexico City, Jan. 8, 2016

Mexico on Friday approved the extradition to the United States of Joaquin Guzman, also known as "El Chapo," Mexico's most powerful drug lord and one of the world's most notorious criminals.

The Mexican government issued a statement permitting Guzman to be extradited to the United States for trial. He is wanted in the states of California and Texas on charges of drug trafficking, money laundering and murder.

Mexico's Foreign Relations Department ruled that he could be transferred to the United States after U.S. officials provided what it called "adequate guarantees" that Guzman would not face the death penalty. Mexico no longer uses the death penalty and avoids extradition to nations where it is still in practice.

Guzman's lawyers say they are filing multiple legal challenges to the extradition order.

Guzman is famed not only for his status as a powerful drug lord, but also for his colorful exploits. He is currently in prison in Ciudad Juarez, along the U.S. border with Texas. Authorities arrested him in January after he escaped from a maximum-security prison in July 2015, in an incident embarrassing to the Mexican government.

He gained his freedom by crawling through a hole in his jail cell's shower to a 1.5-kilometer tunnel.

Guzman also escaped from prison in Guadalajara in 2001 and remained at large for 13 years before being apprehended with information provided by U.S. intelligence agencies.

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