Mexican drug lord Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman might face prosecution in the United States if Mexican authorities grant the request to turn him over. The request for extradition was put forth after Guzman was captured in Mazatlan, Mexico on Saturday, U.S. Security forces reportedly participated in the arrest.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Brooklyn, Guzman is wanted for a variety of charges, and the office will request his extradition for prosecution, according to spokesman Robert Nardoza’s statement on Sunday.
The capture of Guzman, a long time head of the Sinaloa Cartel, an infamous drug organization in Mexico, is considered a great victory in the battle against such organizations in Mexico. As there are sensitivities in the case, as Mexican authorities hold potential charges against him as well, and thus it’s likely he will have to face justice there first. As a result of that, the timing of his potential extradition remains uncertain. It has been reported that amongst other penalties, he broke out of prison in 2001, in a laundry cart.
A bounty of $5 million had been placed on Guzman’s head by the United States. His organization has smuggled marijuana, methamphetamine and cocaine, reportedly worth billions of dollars, into the United States on top of which the cartel has been involved in several clashes with other gangs over territory across Mexico.
Among the criminal charges Guzman is facing in the U.S. Are sealed charges in Brooklyn and Chicago, cocaine smuggling charges in Miami dating back to 2007, with further charges as of last month. The state of Texas additionally holds charges against him for marijuana and cocaine trafficking, firearms violations, money laundering and running a criminal enterprise that, according to accounts, further includes a murder. All of these charges are awaiting drug lord Joaquin Guzman given that Mexico grants the request and turns him over to the United States.
A spokesman, speaking on behalf of the Mexican Attorney General’s office, reportedly refused to comment on the pending extradition request. The office of President Enrique Pena Nieto could not be reached for immediate response on the subject.
The operation that led to the capture of 56-year-old Guzman took place in Mazatlan, a fishing and shrimp processing center and also a tourist resort in northwestern Mexico. Guzman was located in a seaside condominium in Mazatlan, where the pre-dawn raid took place, while he’s suspected to have a base in Culiacan, located approximately 135 miles from Mazatlan.
The northern and western regions of Mexico have for a long time been the key routes for smuggling and cartel activity, and only in the last seven years, almost 80,000 people have lost their lives, many of whom have been tortured and later beheaded. The bodies of the victims are then further dumped in mass graves or left in public places. Border cities have been ravaged by the violence, and even places such as Acapulco and other beach resorts.
How many of these killings can be tied to drug lord Guzman’s cartel has not been reported at this point, but he is facing a series of charges in Mexico and in the United States, which has requested an extradition, upon the approval of which he will be turned over by the Mexican authorities. If turned over, he will be prosecuted in the United States.
By Halldor Fannar Sigurgeirsson