Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán

Mexico confirmed that it has begun the process to extradite Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán to the United States, but it could be a year or more before the recaptured drug kingpin is handed to the US justice system.

Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (Procuraduría General de la República - PGR) announced on January 10 that it had launched formal extradition proceedings. In a statement on its website, the PGR said that two Interpol agents had served Guzmán with two warrants in prison. But Mexican officials said Guzmán’s ability to challenge his extradition could mean the entire process could take at least a year, the BBC reported.

The PGR also published an infographic detailing the process (see below), which was initiated with two official requests from the US on June 16 and August 31, 2015, the first coming just before Guzmán escaped from the maximum-security Altiplano jail in July 2015. The process is now at Stage 7 in the infographic, with Guzmán granted three days (beginning January 10) to “pose exceptions” to the extradition requests and 20 further days to prove them.

16-01-11-mexico-extradition-chart

InSight Crime Analysis

Guzmán is expected to draw this out for as long as possible. His lawyer, Juan Pablo Badillo, who specializes in fighting extraditions, has already filed six separate injunctions (or "amparos," as they are known in Mexico) challenging the requests. These appeals are likely to be rejected, but each requires a judge to schedule a court hearing, and they can be used tactically to delay proceedings. Badillo has already argued that Mexico “must respect national sovereignty, the sovereignty of its institutions to impart justice,” The Washington Post reported.

But as El Daily Post says, Mexico looks set to push ahead and cooperate fully. The government is demonstrating greater resolve than when Guzmán was last captured in 2014. At that time, then Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam said that Guzmán “must stay here to complete his sentence and then I will extradite him… So about 300 or 400 years later -- it will be a while.”

Guzmán’s embarrassing escape has clearly changed their outlook.

If and when Guzmán is finally handed over to US authorities, he will face indictments in at least seven different US federal courts for a plethora of charges including drug trafficking and murder. If convicted, the maximum sentence he is expected to face is life imprisonment without parole, The Atlantic saidMexico will not extradite anyone to the US without the promise that they will not face the death penalty.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
Prev Next

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

José Adán Salazar Umaña is the only Salvadoran citizen currently on the US government's Kingpin List. But in his defense, Salazar Umaña claims is he is an honorable businessman who started his career by exchanging money along the borders between Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. He does...

How the MS13 Got Its Foothold in Transnational Drug Trafficking

How the MS13 Got Its Foothold in Transnational Drug Trafficking

Throughout the continent, the debate on whether or not the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) gang is working with or for drug traffickers continues. In this investigation, journalist Carlos García tells the story of how a member of the MS13 entered the methamphetamine distribution business under the powerful auspices...

Guatemala's Mafia State and the Case of Mauricio López Bonilla

Guatemala's Mafia State and the Case of Mauricio López Bonilla

Former Guatemalan Interior Minister Mauricio López Bonilla -- a decorated war hero and a longtime US ally -- finds himself treading water amidst a flurry of accusations about corruption and his connections to drug traffickers. López Bonilla is not the most well-known suspect in the cases against...

'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

Special Agent David LeValley headed the criminal division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Washington office until last November 8. While in office, he witnessed the rise of the MS13, the Barrio 18 (18th Street) and other smaller gangs in the District of Columbia as well...

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

In July 2011, members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) attended a meeting organized in California by a criminal known as "Bad Boy." Among the invitees was José Juan Rodríguez Juárez, known as "Dreamer," who had gone to the meeting hoping to better understand what was beginning to...

The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

Local police and justice officials are convinced that the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) has strengthened its presence along the East Coast of the United States. The alarm follows a recent spate of violence -- of the type not seen in a decade -- which included dismembered bodies and...