Mexico Decides US Will Get A Shot At Keeping El Chapo From Breaking Out Of Prison

Photo: REUTERS/Henry Romero/File Photo

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JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter
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Sinaloa Cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman can now be extradited to the U.S. after the Mexican government gave its approval Friday.

El Chapo, which means Shorty in Spanish, has been behind bars since January when he was recaptured by Mexican Marines after a daring July 2015 jailbreak. The drug lord was re-incarcerated in Altiplano Prison near Mexico city which he had escaped from back in July.

The cartel kingpin has been in the news lately after having been transferred on May 7 from Altiplano to another prison near Juarez, close to the Texas border. Then on May 9, a Mexican federal judge ruled that El Chapo could be extradited to the U.S.

With the initial judicial ruling, pressure mounted on the Mexican government to authorize the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs, (SRE as it is known in Spanish), the equivalent of the State Department, to authorize the extradition of El Chapo. By Mexican law, the government had 20 days to authorize the extradition of the cartel chief. Then, a second Mexican federal judge re-affirmed the previous ruling and also concluded on Monday that El Chapo can be extradited to the U.S.

It has been agreed by Mexico and the United States that the death penalty is off the table for El Chapo. A lawyer for El Chapo, Juan Pablo Badillo, assured Reuters that “many” appeals would be filed against the extradition of his client.

Retired Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent Mike Vigil told The Daily Caller News Foundation that the authorization to extradite El Chapo is a, “great blow to the drug traffickers in Mexico, a very clear message that they are subject to the rule of law.” Vigil was with the DEA for 31 years and served as the Chief of International Operations.

Vigil believes that in the next 20 days in which El Chapo can appeal the Mexican government’s decision, that the cartel boss will, “probably be fighting his imminent transport to the U.S., tooth and nail, and we might see increased violence against Mexican officials.”

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