Mexico says it will extradite the leader of a Tijuana-based drug cartel
to the United States - where he is wanted on five charges, including
drug trafficking, money laundering, organized crime and racketeering.
Mexican attorney general's office said Wednesday the Mexican government
has agreed to extradite Benjamin Arellano Felix, who faces trial in a
U.S. federal court in California.
The decision overturns a
Mexican judge's opinion that a trial in the United States would mean
trying him on the same charges twice. The attorney general's office
said the charges against Arellano Felix in the United States are
different than the charges he was tried for in Mexico.
Arellano Felix's defense attorney says he will appeal the order within 15 days.
Felix headed a powerful Tijuana-based drug cartel, just across the U.S.
border from San Diego, California, until his arrest in 2002. He is
accused of smuggling tons of cocaine into California between 1990 and
Mexican President Felipe Calderon has deployed some
24,000 troops and federal agents across the country to battle drug
Authorities have cracked down on the Arellano Felix drug cartel, arresting or killing the brothers who took turns running it.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.