The process to have Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman extradited to the United States became a reality now that Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department officially approved the move.
According to NPR, the decision was reached between the two countries Friday (May 20). “We understand that the Mexican Foreign Ministry has now approved our two requests for extradition, following their approval by Mexican courts,” a U.S. Department of Justice spokesman said. Mexican leaders voiced their wishes to have El Chapo tried in the states earlier this month. As of today, El Chapo is facing charges of money-laundering, and arms and drugs possession from up to seven U.S. federal prosecutors in Chicago, New York, Miami and San Diego.
El Chapo’s lawyers can delay the process with appeals, ultimately stalling the move for four to six years. The Sinaloa cartel leader escaped from Mexico’s supermax Altiplano prison in July 2015 and was later captured in January of this year. It was his second prison escape, leading to assumptions of a third. The 61-year-old is currently being held in a prison in Juarez, the same area where his group caused the death of over 3,000 people during harrowing turf wars in 2010.
The Department of Justice says they will not explore the death penalty in El Chapo’s potential prosecution.