Notorious Drug Lord ‘El Chapo’ Extradited to the U.S.
(ABC News) Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the Mexican drug lord who was recaptured after six months on the run last year, is being extradited to the United States, a spokesperson for the Mexican attorney general confirmed to ABC News.
Guzman is currently en route, the spokesperson said. He is expected to land in New York later tonight, a U.S. official and Mexican official both confirmed to ABC News.
The U.S. Department of Justice issued a statement confirming Guzman’s extradition to the U.S. The drug kingpin is being charged in six separate indictments throughout the U.S., the DOJ said.
The department also gave credit to the Mexican government for its “extensive cooperation and assistance” in securing Guzman’s extradition.
In June, Guzman’s pending extradition was suspended until a judge could make a decision on the appeal filed by his team. His extradition had been approved the month before under the condition that U.S. authorities would not seek the death penalty.
American officials in Texas were looking to charge Guzman with a slew of offenses, including murder, money laundering and conspiracy.
Guzman escaped the Altiplano prison near Mexico City on July 11, 2015 launching a manhunt. When guards realized he had been missing from his cell, they found a ventilated tunnel, which Guzman was able to access through an exit near the bathtub in his cell.
The tunnel extended for about a mile underground and featured an adapted motorcycle on rails. Officials believe the motorcycle was used to transport the tools used to construct the tunnel.
Guzman was sent to Altiplano after he was arrested in February 2014. He had spent the previous 10 years on the run after escaping from a different prison in 2001. It is unclear how he escaped in that instance, but he did receive help from prison guards, who were prosecuted and convicted.
The U.S. treasury once described the Sinaloa cartel leader as “the most powerful drug trafficker in the world.” He has also been ranked as one of the richest men in the world by Forbes, with drug enforcement experts estimating the cartel’s revenues as more than $3 billion annually.
The Sinaloa cartel allegedly uses elaborate tunnels for drug trafficking and is estimated to be responsible for 25 percent of all illegal drugs that enter the U.S. through Mexico.