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Observers Question Timing of Extradition of Drug Lord Chapo Guzmán

LADB Article ID: 80189
Category/Department: Mexico
Date: 2017-01-25
By: Carlos Navarro

The Mexican government transferred custody of notorious drug trafficker Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán Loera to US authorities on Jan. 19. The US had long sought to bring the Sinaloa cartel leader for trial in the US (SourceMex, Feb. 18, 2015), and while the public sentiment in Mexico has generally been in opposition to extraditions, the nation’s high court (Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación, SCJN) cleared the way for the government to extradite Mexican citizens in a speedy manner 15 years ago. Since then, a handful of individuals tied to organized crime have been sent to the US. Given the precedents and the serious charges against Guzmán in both Mexico and the US, the extradition itself was expected. The big surprise was the timing of the move, particularly since President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration and the Mexican courts appeared to be stalling on the transfer. Guzmán was sent to the US on the last day of President Barack Obama’s term in office, and the day before Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration. The extradition date spawned several theories about the motivations of Peña Nieto’s administration. Was the move intended as a gift to Obama or to Trump?

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