Latin America & Caribbean

Mexico judge clears 'El Chapo' Guzman extradition to US

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman faces the media in handcuffs following his capture by Mexican soldiers and marines six months after he escaped from jail. (8/01/16) Image copyright AFP
Image caption "El Chapo's" lawyers have appealed against the ruling allowing his extradition to the US

A federal judge in Mexico has ruled that drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman can be extradited to the US.

Guzman is wanted there on charges of smuggling vast amounts of drugs into the country.

The Mexican foreign ministry now has 30 days to decide whether or not to approve the extradition.

Guzman's lawyers have already appealed against the judge's ruling. Two days ago the authorities transferred him to a prison near the US border.

But they denied the move to Ciudad Juarez, just across the border from El Paso, Texas, was a precursor to extradition.

The National Security Commission said the transfer was due to work being done to boost security at the Altiplano maximum security prison near Mexico City, where he was being held.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption "El Chapo" has been transferred to Ciudad Juarez, just across the border from the US.

Guzman was the head of the Sinaloa drug cartel.

He was captured in January, six months after escaping through a 1.6km (one-mile) tunnel from his maximum-security prison cell.

Guzman timeline

February 2014: Recapture after 13 years on the run following "laundry basket" escape from Puente Grande maximum security prison

July 2015: Escape via tunnel from Altiplano prison

2 October 2015: Interviewed by US actor Sean Penn in Durango state jungle hideout and then by phone and video

17 October: Mexican officials announce narrow escape as police try to recapture him in neighbouring Sinaloa state

January 2016: Recaptured in Los Mochis, Sinaloa state

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