The decision to move forward with extraditing Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán comes just days after the horrific murder of Judge Vicente Bermúdez Zacarías, who was overseeing the appeals of the drug lord. While out for a routine jog, the judge was shot in the head and left to die in the street. The event was captured on camera and led to outrage among the highest levels of Mexico’s government. Mexico’s Attorney General, Arely Gómez González, was ordered by Mexico’s President to investigate the case following the October 17th murder, and within a few days, the Attorney General released the following statement:
Today, the Public Prosecutor’s Office was notified of five resolutions emitted by the Thirteenth Court of District of Amparo in Criminal Matters in Mexico City, on the petitions filed by Joaquin Guzman Loera against orders issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in which his extradition is granted. In two of them the court decided to deny protection of federal justice, while the remaining three were dismissed.
However, this ruling does not mean El Chapo will face actual extradition anytime soon. His lawyers still have time for another appeal.
Filing injunctions keeps El Chapo in Mexico and gives him time to escape.
Guzmán’s lawyers have in the past filed numerous injunctions to slow down the extradition process. They’ve even argued that Guzmán would be unable to receive a fair trial due to overwhelming anti-Mexican sentiment in the U.S. While these appeals slow down the process and keep El Chapo in Mexico, they also serve another purpose. The longer El Chapo remains in prison, the more likely it is that he’ll find a way to escape. It only took El Chapo six months to escape from a maximum security prison last time he was captured. He also escaped from prison in 2001, and was on the lam for almost 13 years. Though more precautions are in place to keep Chapo in custody these days, the risk of flight is too real.
If sent to the U.S., Guzmán will face several counts of conspiracy for crimes committed between 1990 and 2005.
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According to CNN, the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, New York, has indicted Guzman with smuggling in over 264,000 pounds of cocaine between 1990 and 2005. In the past, Guzmán’s lawyers have argued that these charges are the result of hearsay rather than actual evidence, and other sources have questioned the politicization of Guzmán’s supposed crimes. Guzmán’s lawyers have suggested that their client would plead guilty in the U.S. for “a reasonable sentence” and “a medium-security prison that does not have conditions like the ones here in Mexico.” Back in May, Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Relations agreed to U.S. extradition only if Guzmán would not face the death penalty.