MEXICO CITY (AP) – Mexico began the process of extraditing drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to the United States, two days after the famed fugitive was recaptured following a dramatic, months-long hunt featuring movie stars, sewer escapes and bloody shootouts.
Officials warned that the process could take a long time as Guzman’s lawyers file legal appeals and maneuver to keep their client in Mexico, where he has already escaped from maximum security prisons twice.
On Sunday, agents formally notified Guzman that he was wanted in the United States. In a statement, the Attorney General’s Office said Mexican agents assigned to the international police agency Interpol served two arrest warrants to the drug lord, who is being held at the Altiplano prison following his capture by Mexican marines on Friday.
Guzman’s defense now has three days to present arguments against extradition and 20 days to present supporting evidence, beyond the plethora of other appeals they have already started filing.
Guzman’s powerful Sinaloa cartel smuggles multi-ton shipments of cocaine and marijuana as well as manufacturing and transporting methamphetamines and heroin, mostly to the U.S. He is wanted in various U.S. states and his July escape deeply embarrassed the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto and strained ties between the countries.