Latin America & Caribbean

El Chapo: Mexican judge to decide whether to extradite drug lord to US

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Guzman's extradition was halted in June

A Mexican judge is to consider the case to have cartel boss Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman extradited to the US later this month.

The judge in Mexico City is expected to begin deliberating on 26 September.

However, Guzman could appeal any decision to extradite him and his lawyers say the process could take years to conclude.

The leader of the notorious Sinaloa drug cartel is being held in a maximum security prison near the US border.

A US official told AFP news agency he hoped Guzman would be extradited by the end of the year.

Who is "El Chapo" Guzman?

Mexico agreed to transfer Guzman in May after the US guaranteed he would not face the death penalty.

The two extradition requests granted by Mexico's foreign ministry were for Guzman to face cocaine smuggling charges in the US state of California and multiple charges including murder in the state of Texas.

However, in June a Mexican judge temporarily halted the extradition after Guzman's lawyers filed appeals.

They argued that the statute of limitations had run out on some crimes Guzman is accused of in the US and that some of the accusations lacked direct evidence.

Guzman was arrested in January after six months on the run following his escape through a tunnel in his jail cell. He had already escaped a maximum security facility once before, spending 13 years at large.

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