'El Chapo' extradition uncertain as injuctions filed

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  Jan. 10, 2016 at 11:12 AM
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MEXICO CITY, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- The lengthy, uncertain extradition process for drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has begun as Guzman's lawyer filed six injunctions challenging the motion.

After receiving notification, a defendant has three days to file an appeal to prevent being extradited, as per Mexican law. Guzman's lawyer has reportedly filed six separate injunctions to block extradition.

Once a defendant formally appeals, the matter is argued and examined for about 20 working days in Mexico City's District of Federal Criminal Proceedings.

Mexican district judges will then decide if Guzman's appeal against extradition is a success or if Guzman will be sent to the United States to face the U.S. Department of Justice. But Mexico's Ministry of Foreign Affairs will make the final extradition decision -- which Guzman can also appeal in both Mexico's District Court and Federal Circuit Court.

In September, Mexican federal judges "gave the orders of detention for international extradition against" Guzman -- meaning the United States' recent formal requests for Guzman's extradition -- submitted in June and August -- were approved by Mexico.

The New York Times reports that various hurdles could prevent Guzman from ever being prosecuted in the United States. The White House has yet to comment on the potential extradition and the Justice Department remains ambivalent.

"Is it possible? Yes," an anonymous Justice Department official told The New York Times about Guzman's extradition to the United States. "But I have not heard anything definitive."

As per the Mexican government's statement on Guzman's extradition, the drug kingpin will be extradited as long as Guzman's appeal does not succeed.

"With the recapture of Guzman Loera, it shall begin the respective extradition proceedings, which, according to the Extradition Act, have different phases," the Mexican government wrote. "Once the district judges issued the respective legal opinion, the courts will be required to transmit the files to the Foreign Ministry to enable it within a period of 20 working days to issue a relevant ruling, where the delivery of the extradition of the person sought will be determined."

In short, Guzman's extradition proceedings, including appeals, could take far more than 40 days and there are no guaranteed results. Guzman was captured on Friday in the city of Los Mochis in his home state of Sinaloa. Five suspected Sinoloa Cartel members were killed and one Mexican marine was wounded during the capture operation.

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