The Mexican drug lord, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, has been extradited to the United States this Thursday, and he will face trial in New York, according to the U.S. government officials.
Guzmán arrived in New York at Long Island MacArthur Airport carried by a U.S. government official plane and escorted by federal agents. The U.S. Justice Department has set the trial for Guzmán at the Brooklyn federal court, which is known for being one of the most secure courthouses in the nation.
According to officials, the conversations between the Mexican and the American governments regarding the “Chapo” extradition were considerably accelerated in the past weeks.
Mr. Guzmán lawyers were fighting on Mexican ground for “El Chapo” to avoid the process. The news of the event came as a surprise, as it was announced exactly on the last day of Obama’s Administration.
According to one of Guzmán’s lawyers, Silvia Delgado, all the process must be considered as illegal, as all the mechanisms regarding the avoiding of extradition have not been exhausted within Mexican justice system. The Central American country government has not pronounced as its officials have not responded to the press.
Another of Guzmán’s lawyers said that this process was made to take the attention away from the current tension regarding the rise of oil prices in Mexico, announced by President Enrique Peña Nieto last month.
“It was illegal. They didn’t even notify us. They handled it politically to obscure the situation of the gas price hike. It’s totally political,” Andres Granados, one of “El Chapo’s” lawyers said this Thursday.
Delgado stated that he had met with Guzmán the night after the flight. She and other lawyers had introduced an application to the local court to stop the extradition process. However, Mexico’s Foreign Minister said that a local courthouse had denied the claim because the extradition agreed with “constitutional norms, requirements established in the bilateral treaty, and other legal provisions.”
The Mexican drug lord is set to face a number of crimes in which there are included drug trafficking, homicide, money laundering, among others. When Guzmán arrived in the country, the U.S. Justice Department thanked the Mexican government for the assistance and cooperation regarding Guzmán’s extradition.
Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán
Joaquín Guzmán was born on a farm in a Mexican rural area. He went from there to building one of the biggest drug empires ever seen, valued in billions of dollars. His drug empire is known for being the largest ever recorded since the fall of Colombian Cali cartel, led by famous Pablo Escobar Gaviria.
Guzmán has been captured three times, and in two of those opportunities, he managed to escape. He was imprisoned in some of Mexico’s maximum-security jails, but he escaped from two of them in 2001 and 2015.
When he was recaptured in 2016, he was moved to one of Mexico’s safest prisons located in Ciudad Juárez, across the border from the United States, specifically El Paso, Texas. According to some experts, this move was seen as the first step toward the extradition procedure.
Currently, there is a tense situation concerning the relationship between both Mexican and American governments when Donald Trump assumes office and becomes President officially.
Mr. Trump has bashed Mexico because he thinks that it is affecting the nation negatively. For this issue, he promised to build a wall on the border between that country and the U.S., using Mexico’s money to pay for it.
The President-elect has also attacked the current free-trade treaty between Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. as he has threatened to repeal it when he enters the White House.
According to Raúl Benítez, a national security expert at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, this extradition process serves to show that Mexico can still be a U.S. ally even when Trump assumes the nation’s highest office.
Local repercussions in Mexico after ‘El Chapo’ gets convicted
According to Benítez, Mr. Guzmán always has had stretched ties with Mexico’s government officials, and he thinks that now that Guzmán faces a harsh trial, he could start talking about some important political Mexican figures and their ties with the local drug trafficking.
Also, as history has shown, there is a high risk for the war situation between several Mexican cartels to get worse after “El Chapo” extradition. In 2007, when the head of the Gulf Cartel, Osiel Cárdenas, was imprisoned and taken to the U.S., he proceeded to collaborate with the U.S. Justice system and received a 25-year sentence.
However, this produced a spike in the bellicose situation concerning drug cartels within Mexico, a confrontation that took the lives of thousands of innocent people in war zones.
Mr. Guzmán will not only face trial in New York, as he has been accused in other American states like San Diego, Chicago, and Miami. Experts say that if he gets convicted, as he would probably be, he will face a life-long sentence in one of U.S. maximum-security prisons.
Source: The Wall Street Journal