A Mexican judge on Thursday dropped an appeal for protection from extradition presented by lawyers for Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman paving the way for a potential extradition of the Sinaloa Cartel leader to the United States.
According to judicial federal sources, Guzman's lawyers failed to present enough evidence as part of a complaint in which defense attorneys argued their client's rights were being violated.
Guzman's lawyers say they have filed nine constitutional appeals for protection against extradition because of the restrictions on visits and other alleged violations that El Chapo suffers in the maximum security prison where he is jailed.
Earlier this year, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, that his government was working to extradite El Chapo to the U.S. "as soon as possible."
Guzman was captured in Guatemala in June 1993, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison but he escaped in 2001 from the maximum security prison in a laundry cart.
He was arrested again in February 2014, but last year he managed to escape for a second time through a hole in his shower stall into a mile-long-elaborated tunnel dug from a property outside the prison. He was recaptured six months later on Jan. 11.
Guzman attorneys are trying to block the extradition by filing injunctions in Mexican courts at the federal and district levels. U.S. authorities are requesting El Chapo's extradition because they fear he will again bribe his way out of prison.
El Chapo is accused of smuggling tons of drugs into the U.S. through boats, airplanes, submarines and vast networks of tunnels deep beneath the border, among other crimes.