The Mexican Foreign Ministry announced Thursday that drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, was extradited from Mexico to the U.S. The U.S. Justice Department confirmed that Guzman left the country from Ciudad Juarez.
Guzman's lawyers promised a zealous defense to ensure he receives a fair trial, and they said they would examine whether Guzman was extradited appropriately.
Guzman escaped prison in 2001 after bribing Mexican prison guards, and again in 2014 when he exited through a almost 1-mile tunnel dug beneath his jail sell.
"The government ... today handed Mr Guzman Loera to the USA authorities", the foreign ministry said in a statement, referring to a court decision on Thursday rejecting a legal challenge by his lawyers against extradition.
The new home of Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is a New York City federal lockup that's one of the most secure in the nation.
Guzman's career was violent and his ambition to control more trafficking routes was a key dynamic in Mexico's decade-long drug war from which his organization emerged mostly victorious.
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After his recent escape, he became something of a folk legend for a segment of Mexico's population for his defiance of authorities.
The decision by Mexico to extradite one of its most prized prisoners to the USA comes as Trump has taken a tough stand on illegal immigration from that country, vowing to build a border wall and make Mexico pay for it.
Mexico's top drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is escorted as he arrives at Long Island MacArthur airport in NY, U.S., January 19, 2017, after his extradition from Mexico. Hays reported from NY.
"Who is Chapo Guzman?" He could face the possibility of life in a US prison if convicted. Prosecutors agreed to not seek the death penalty as a condition of his extradition.
The U.S. has been trying to get custody of Guzman since he was first indicted in California in the early 1990s. Later, when asked again, Guzman said he understood.
Officials allege Guzman committed crimes involving drug trafficking spanning over three decades. The encounter was the subject of a lengthy article Penn published in Rolling Stone last January, right after Mexican marines re-arrested Guzman in the western state of Sinaloa.