December 18, 2014
US to seek extradition of accused Mexican drug kingpin Guzman
US federal prosecutors in New York plan to seek the extradition of Mexico's most wanted man, drug cartel kingpin Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman, to the United States, the US Attorney's office said today.
Guzman, captured in Mexico with help from US agencies, had long run Mexico's infamous Sinaloa Cartel. Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for the US Attorney's office in Brooklyn, said his office plans to seek Guzman's extradition to face a variety of charges.
It was not immediately clear whether Mexico would agree to extradite him any time soon. Sensitivities over the issue could mean he is more likely to face justice first in Mexico, where he still has an outstanding term to finish.
He broke out of prison, reportedly in a laundry cart, in 2001. The United States had a $5 million bounty on Guzman's head. His cartel has smuggled billions of dollars worth of cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine into the United States, and fought vicious turf wars with other gangs across Mexico.
In addition to facing sealed US criminal charges in Chicago and Brooklyn, Guzman was indicted in 2007 in Miami on cocaine smuggling charges, with additional charges added there last month. He also was charged in 2012 in Texas with importing cocaine and marijuana, money laundering, firearms violations and running a criminal enterprise that included murder.
A spokesman for the Mexican attorney general's office declined to comment on the extradition request. President Enrique Pena Nieto's office could not immediately be reached for comment.
The United States had placed a 5 million dollar bounty on Guzman's head. Guzman's cartel has smuggled billions of dollars worth of cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamines into the United States, and fought vicious turf wars with other Mexican gangs.
He pioneered the use of sophisticated underground tunnels to smuggle drug shipments across the border and also became a major narcotics exporter to Europe and Asia in recent years.