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News > World

El Chapo Wants Case Dismissed, Alleging Illegal Extradition

  • Joaquin

    Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is escorted by soldiers during a presentation in Mexico City, Mexico, on January 8, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 4 August 2017

His trial is scheduled for April of next year.

Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, one of the world's most notorious criminals, is claiming his extradition to the United States was illegal and wants a U.S. judge to dismiss his case, according to court papers filed on Thursday. 

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The 60-year-old leader of the Sinaloa Cartel was extradited to New York on January 19 and is being held in solitary confinement in Manhattan pending trial next April. Prosecutors have accused him of killing thousands of people while running the group and shipping at least 200 tons of cocaine into the United States over decades. 

In the papers filed in the Federal District Court in Brooklyn, Guzman’s lawyers said Mexican officials initially agreed to extradite Guzman to face charges under the conditions he be sent to only Texas or California. But on January 19, Mexico suddenly consented to send him to New York by issuing a Rule of Specialty waiver.

They also alleged that Mexico would never have signed off on Guzman’s extradition if it had known of "the extraordinarily harsh conditions" of his U.S. confinement.

"These conditions ... are tantamount to torture. Had Mexico been advised of these conditions, it almost certainly would not have consented to Guzman's detention and prosecution in this district," the court papers said. 

Additionally, Guzman’s lawyers challenged the U.S. government’s desire to seize US$14 billion in Guzman's purported drug profits, saying there was "no evidence" the United States sought permission from Mexico to pursue such a forfeiture.

The defense team, therefore, is asking Brooklyn Federal Court Justice Brian Cogan to throw out the indictment, on the grounds that it violates the extradition treaty between the United States and Mexico.

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Cogan has yet to rule on the motion. Even if Cogan rules to dismiss the indictment because of the extradition, Guzman could still be prosecuted in one of the other cities where he has been indicted.

For years, the Mexican government resisted requests from Washington to send Guzman to the United States for trial, arguing that he would serve his long sentence in Mexico first. The turnabout came after Guzman escaped for a second time from a Mexican prison in 2015.

Guzman faces a litany of firearms, drug trafficking and conspiracy charges in the U.S. federal court in Brooklyn. If convicted, he will likely spend the rest of his life in a maximum security U.S. prison.

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