News / Americas

Mexican Drug Kingpin Seeks to Block US Extradition

Joaquin
Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman is escorted to a helicopter in handcuffs by Mexican Marines at a Navy hangar in Mexico City, Feb. 22, 2014.
Reuters
Lawyers for Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman on Monday filed an injunction to block any move to extradite him to the United States after he
was captured and charged with drugs and arms trafficking, an official said.

Guzman, Mexico's most wanted criminal and boss of the feared Sinaloa Cartel, was caught in the northwest of the country with help from U.S. agents in a pre-dawn raid on Saturday.

The dramatic capture ended his reign as one of the world's most notorious organized crime bosses, and was a major victory for the Mexican government in a long, brutal war.

According to a Mexican justice official, Guzman's lawyers filed the injunction on Monday after the spokesman for a U.S. federal prosecutor said he planned to seek "El Chapo's" extradition to face trial in the United States.

However, it is still unclear whether that will happen, and extradition proceedings can take years to complete.

Earlier on Monday, a U.S. Justice Department spokesman said an extradition decision would "be the subject of further discussion between the United States and Mexico".

U.S. officials said that President Barack Obama's administration wanted to avoid looking like it was putting pressure on Mexico to move quickly on an extradition.

Mexico has not yet said whether it is ready to do so.

"The security cabinet will need to meet and take the most appropriate decision," Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong told a radio station on Monday.

Sensitivities over the issue could mean Guzman is more likely to face justice first in Mexico, where he still has an outstanding term to finish after he broke out of prison in 2001.

Fears of a repeat escape might encourage Mexico's government to hand Guzman over to the United States, but it would also be a tacit admission of ongoing weakness in the justice system.

Crime bosses have served terms first in one country, then the other.
 
While Guzman has been charged with an array of crimes in Mexico, murder is not among them, government and justice officials said. That is despite accusations by security officials that his cartel was behind thousands of killings.

"The main charges against him are for organized crime, drug trafficking, arms trafficking," said an official at the attorney general's office, adding there were six arrest orders for Guzman.

"There were no murder charges ... in any of the arrest orders," the official added. The charges could carry a combined total sentence of up to 400 years, the officials said.

The 56-year-old kingpin is being held in the Altiplano prison in the State of Mexico, outside the capital. He gave a brief statement to a judge on Sunday, and is being kept in a cell alone in a maximum-security area.

More than 80,000 people have been killed in Mexico's cartel violence over the last seven years with much of the killing in western and northern regions at the heart of smuggling routes.

The United States had a $5 million bounty on Guzman's head.

His cartel has smuggled billions of dollars' worth of cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine into the United States, and fought brutal turf wars with other gangs across Mexico.

In addition to facing U.S. criminal charges in Chicago and New York, Guzman was indicted in 2007 in Miami for cocaine smuggling, with additional charges added last month.

He was also charged in Texas with importing cocaine and marijuana, money laundering, firearms violations and running a criminal enterprise that included murder.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Venezuela Blocks Former LatAm Presidents From Seeing Detained Leaders

Andres Pastrana of Colombia, Jorge Quiroga of Bolivia, both political conservatives, not allowed to meet opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez and former Mayor Daniel Ceballos
More

Haiti Struggles to Stem Cholera as Rains Come Early

From January to April this year, 14,226 Haitians infected with cholera - triple the number of cases from the same period last year, with Port-au-Prince hardest hit
More

Cuba Not Off the Hook, Despite Removal From State Sponsor of Terrorism List

Though it's off the blacklist, Havana is not clear of all US embargoes and statutory restrictions - including Helms-Burton Act, which includes stringent financial restrictions
More

Nazi War Crimes Suspect Dies in Canada

Vladimir Katriuk, 93, had denied allegations that he took part in killings of civilians in Soviet village of Khatyn, now part of Belarus
More

Allies, Ex-players, Fans Abroad Cheer US Move Against FIFA

Soccer devotees flood Twitter with praise, ask why countries with richer traditions in the sport had ignored suspicions of corruption for so long
More

Soccer Great Pele to Join New York Cosmos on Cuban Trip

Goodwill mission will include exhibition match between Cosmos, Cuban national team
More