Bad Dreams Come True: "El Chapo" Guzman turned over to US
Mexico has extradited notorious Sinaloa drug cartel boss, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, to the United States to face trial over multiple charges.
The drug lord was handed over to US authorities on Thursday, President Barack Obama's last day in office and one day before Donald Trump is sworn in as the next American president. Guzman was handed over to the Attorney General's Office (PGR), which later turned him over to the US authorities, said a Mexican foreign ministry statement.
Leader of one of the most feared drug gangs, Guzman was transferred from northern Mexico's Ciudad Juarez, where he had been held at a high-security prison since May last year, to New York by air, to face trial in six cases pending against him. The extradition made El Chapo worst dream come true: to be judged in the U.S
In a statement, the US justice department thanked the Enrique Peña Nieto-led Mexican government for its cooperation and assistance in ensuring Guzman's extradition.
After escaping in July 2011 from a high security prison in Altiplano, in the State of Mexico, Guzman was recaptured in early January last year from his native state of Sinaloa, and has pending cases against him in the US states of New York, Texas, Arizona, Florida, Illinois and New Hampshire.
The case in New York was opened in 2009, while the district attorney's office filed fresh charges - including narcotrafficking, membership of criminal organization and illegal distribution of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines and heroin - in Nov. 2016.
A few days after his re-arrest, Peña Nieto said his administration were trying to expedite Guzman's extradition to the US, thus confirming a radical turnaround in Mexico's stance on the matter.
In January 2015, the-then Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo, had said Guzman would have to serve his sentence in the country before he could be extradited to the US, adding it could be "some 300 or 400 years later".
However, Guzman's daring Altiplano jailbreak - his second from a high-security facility - was a huge embarrassment for the Peña Nieto government.
After his extradition was greenlighted by the foreign ministry on May 20, 2016, defense lawyers filed several appeals against the planned handover.
On Wednesday, Mexico's top court refused to admit two appeals for relief against the drug lord's extradition, a decision upheld by Mexico City's Fifth Criminal Collegiate Tribunal the next day.
The tribunal said the extradition authorized by the ministry complied with laws and requirements laid down in the bilateral treaty, adding the accused's human rights were not violated during the proceedings.
One of Guzman's lawyers, Jose Refugio, told EFE the tribunal's rejection of the appeals merely a day after the Supreme Court's refusal to admit them points to the government and the judiciary being hand-in-glove.
Trump's ascension to power - who has vowed to build a wall on the countries' common border and make Mexico pay for it, deport millions of immigrants, tax remittances, and come down harshly on it in trade - has sparked great uncertainty in Mexico.
However, in a press briefing held Wednesday night, Mexico's Deputy Attorney General Alberto Elias Beltran denied any links between Guzman's extradition and the change in US administration.