The Mexican government announced in a press release today that drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán has been notified of his pending extradition to the United States.
Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it will “concede” Chapo’s extradition to the U.S., where he could be tried in the District Court for the Western District of Texas or the District Court for the Southern District of California.
The drug lord is accused in Texas of criminal association, organized crime, possession of firearms, homicide and money laundering. He's also accused in California of importing and possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute.
The Ministry said it reached its decision to extradite El Chapo after taking into account the opinions of two Mexican judges, Mexico's bilateral extradition treaty and the U.S. government's promise to not seek the death penalty.
“The U.S. government has provided sufficient guarantees that the death penalty will not be applied to Mr. Guzmán Loera,” stated Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The drug lord was transferred earlier this month to a prison in Ciudad Juárez, near the Texas border. The move sparked rumors that his extradition could happen at any moment.
Chapo can still appeal the extradition. Teresa Elizabeth Delgado, a spokesperson from Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Fusion the drug lord’s legal defense team will now have 30 days to file an appeal, if they chose to.
It's unclear if Chapo will appeal the decision. His lawyer said recently the drug lord himself wanted to be extradited, citing unbearable conditions in the high security prison of Altiplano, the same prison he escaped from last July. Some security experts also believe Chapo's defense could strike a deal with the U.S. government in exchange for not delaying extradition.
Delgado said no information has been made available about how and when Chapo's turnover to U.S. authorities would happen. She said when it happens the Mexican Attorney General’s Office will be the authority charged with delivering Chapo to U.S. authorities.