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El Chapo Just Got His U.S. Extradition Delayed

REUTERS/Henry Romero/Files

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JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter

Drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is staying put in Mexico despite U.S. extradition requests after a judge ruled in his favor Tuesday.

Mexican federal judge José Díaz de León stated, “The suspension of the contested act known as ‘extradition’ is decreed.” The jurist put the Sinaloa Cartel kingpin’s extradition on hold after his lawyers filed two injunctions Monday against federal extradition requests coming out of Texas and California.

El Chapo’s fate now depends on if the judge agrees that the case isn’t strong enough to warrant extradition to Texas and if the statute of limitations invalidates the charges in California. The cartel boss’ legal team have stated that they could be fighting against their client’s extradition for three years and take their appeals all the way up to the Mexican Supreme Court.

It may take months for the judge to arrive at a decision regarding El Chapo’s injunction against extradition. In the meantime, El Chapo is being held in a prison near Ciudad Juarez, close to the U.S. border with Texas.

El Chapo has been behind bars since he was captured by Mexican Marines in January after having been on the run since a July 2015 jailbreak via an almost mile long underground tunnel. U.S. authorities have made guarantees to the Mexican government that El Chapo will not face the death penalty.

The incarcerated cartel leader has been living in a state of legal limbo since two Mexican federal judges along with the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs approved his extradition to the U.S.

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