Mexican drug lord El Chapo extradited to the US

The Mexican government extradited the head of the Sinaloa drug cartel, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, to the United States on Thursday, Jan. 19. He arrived in New York after being picked up by a team from the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Marshals and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
 
Guzmán, known as “El Chapo” or “Shorty” due to his short stature, was tried the following day and pleaded not guilty to charges of running one of the largest drug trafficking operations in the world. According to NBC News, he and his associates were charged with importing over 200 metric tons of cocaine into the U.S. in addition to heroin, methamphetamines and marijuana, smuggling $14 billion in cash into Mexico from the U.S. and ordering the assassination of thousands of drug trafficking competitors.
 
According to TIME Magazine, Guzmán has been involved in a game of cat-and-mouse with the Mexican government since 1993 when he was arrested in Guatemala. Since then, he has escaped and been arrested two more times. His most recent arrest in January 2016 concluded “one of the most exhausted manhunts the Mexican government has conducted.”
 
The U.S. has been requesting Guzmán’s extradition for two years. According to the New York Times, although the Mexican government initially wanted to keep Guzmán imprisoned in Mexico, they reconsidered after he escaped from Mexico’s most secure prison in 2015. After Guzmán’s third arrest in January 2016, the government decided to extradite him to avoid another escape and to prevent further tension with the U.S.
 
Guzmán has a history of crime in Chicago, being the only criminal declared Public Enemy No. 1 by the Crime Commission in Chicago since Al Capone. Although there is no record of him entering the city of Chicago, DNAInfo reported that his cartel has controlled the majority of the Chicago drug trade for years, transporting drugs between Chicago and Mexico and partnering with Chicago street gangs to sell drugs. Charges were filed against Guzmán in Illinois, among other states; however, he will be tried in Brooklyn, partially due to the number of witnesses there.
 
Fox News reported that he will be kept in a special unit inside the Metropolitan Correctional Center, which has housed former high-risk prisoners such as Gambino crime family boss John Gotti and former close associates of Osama bin Laden. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. He will not receive the death penalty, an agreement the U.S. made with the Mexican government as part of the negotiations to secure his extradition.
 
Although Alberto Elias Beltram, a Mexican deputy attorney general, claims that the decision to extradite Guzmán the day before the inauguration of President Donald Trump was coincidental, many suspect that the timing was an intentional comment on Trump’s hostility toward Mexico during his campaign.
Jorge Chabat, a security expert at CIDE, a public research university in Mexico City, said, “The fact that we delivered him to Obama is a clear political message that says this is a government we have long collaborated and worked closely with … By not waiting to send him to Trump after his inauguration, it is a subtle statement saying, ‘We could do this for you, too, in the future, if we have a good relationship.’”

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