Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzman is arrested by Mexican marines on February 22, 2014. Thursday his request for protection from extradition to the United States, where he could face charges of drug-dealing and homicide, was rejected. Photo courtesy of PGR/Mexican Federal Government
MEXICO CITY, April 1 (UPI) -- Lawyers for imprisoned Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman failed to block his extradition to the United States in a Mexico City court.
An appeal for protection from extradition was overturned in a Mexican federal court because of lack of evidence and procedural irregularities.
The action increases the probability Guzman will be extradited to the United States. He is wanted in Texas and California on homicide and drug-dealing charges. U.S. authorities have requested Guzman's extradition because they fear he can bribe his way out of prison in Mexico.
Earlier this year Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said his government sought to extradite Guzman, regarded by some as the world's most prominent drug cartel leader, "as soon as possible."
Guzman, accused of crimes including the smuggling of tons of drugs into the United States by boat, submarine, airplane and networks of tunnels under the border, was captured in Guatemala in 1993 and sentenced to 20 years in prison but escaped.
Arrested in Mexico in 2014, he escaped again through a network of tunnels under the prison. In the days after his second escape, Mexican authorities deployed nearly 10,000 police officers and 48 search dogs to track down Guzman, and the government offered a nearly $3.8 million reward for information leading to his arrest. He was captured six months after his escape.
His Sinaloa Cartel is credited with dominating the illegal drug market in nearly the entire United States.