- Title: Mexico considering extraditing Guzman to U.S.
- Date: 28th September 2016
- Summary: ALMOLOYA DE JUAREZ, MEXICO (FILE) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF ALTIPLANO PRISON FEDERAL POLICE OUTSIDE PRISON MORE OF PRISON EXTERIOR
- Embargoed: 13th October 2016 16:19
- Keywords: El Chapo Joaquin El Chapo Guzman druglord Sinaloa Cartel
- Location: MEXICO CITY / ALMOLOYA DE JUAREZ / SALINA CRUZ, OAXACA / SINALOA / TIJUANA, BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO / UNIDENTIFIED LOCATION
- City: MEXICO CITY / ALMOLOYA DE JUAREZ / SALINA CRUZ, OAXACA / SINALOA / TIJUANA, BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO / UNIDENTIFIED LOCATION
- Country: Mexico
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice,Crime
- Reuters ID: LVA00551HZDJ7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL THAT WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
Mexican drug boss Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is continuing to fight efforts by the Mexican government to extradite him to the United States, one of his lawyers said on Monday (September 26).
A Mexican judge's decision on one of his appeals against extradition is due to be made in the coming days. But no decision by the judge has yet been made.
In May, Mexico's Foreign Ministry approved Guzman's extradition to the United States, and said it had received guarantees that the death penalty would not be sought against him.
The ministry said he faces charges including drug trafficking, money laundering and murder in U.S. federal courts in California and Texas.
Guzman, who rose from a ramshackle mountain village to become Mexico's most notorious drug lord, twice escaped from high-security prison.
The Mexican government's struggle with drug cartels and its chief adversary, Guzman, known as "El Chapo" in Spanish, has claimed tens of thousands of lives.
In a July 2015 prison breakout, Guzman humiliated Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto by scrambling through a hole in his cell's shower and fleeing via a lit, ventilated tunnel that led to a small warehouse built on farmland about a mile away from the maximum-security facility.
From there, he disappeared into the night.
In 2001, Guzman staged his first breakout from prison, bribing guards in a jail in western Mexico, then proceeded to dominate smuggling along much of the Rio Grande.
But many in towns and villages across Mexico will remember Guzman better for his squads of assassins who committed thousands of murders, kidnappings and decapitations.
Violence crept up in the 2000-2006 rule of president Vicente Fox, and his National Action Party (PAN) successor Felipe Calderon, staked his reputation on bringing the cartels to heel.
Instead, the killings spiraled, claiming nearly 70,000 lives under Calderon while Guzman's fame grew and Forbes featured him on its annual list of billionaires. In February 2013, Chicago dubbed him its first Public Enemy No.1 since Al Capone.
Guzman's Sinaloa cartel went on smuggling hundreds of tons of cocaine, marijuana, and crystal meth across Mexico's 2,000 mile border with the United States. Indictments allege Guzman's narcotics were sold from New England all the way to the Pacific.
Guzman's capture in February 2014 was a big victory for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which returned to power in December 2012. That made his escape in 2015 all the more embarrassing for Pena Nieto.
The 5 foot 6 inch gangster's exploits made him a legend in many impoverished communities of northern Mexico, where he was immortalized in dozens of ballads and low budget movies.
Drug agents concede Guzman was exceptional at what he did, managing to outmaneuver, outfight or outbribe his rivals to stay at the top of the bloody Mexican drug trade for over a decade.
Mexican soldiers and U.S. agents came close to Guzman on several occasions but his layers of body guards and spies always tipped him off before they stormed his safe houses.
Guzman was born in La Tuna, a village in the Sierra Madre mountains in Sinaloa state where smugglers have been growing opium and marijuana since the early twentieth century.
He ascended in the 1980s under the tutelage of Sinaloan kingpin Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, alias "The Boss of Bosses," who pioneered cocaine smuggling routes into the United States.
Between 2004 and 2013, his gangs fought in all major Mexican cities on the U.S. border, turning Ciudad Juarez and Nuevo Laredo into some of the most dangerous places on the planet.
Guzman's Sinaloa cartel often clashed with the Zetas, a gang founded by former Mexican soldiers that created paramilitary death squads. The Sinaloans fought fire with fire, arming their troops with rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns.
United States officials sought his extradition only weeks before his escape, the Mexican government later revealed.
Guards continued to heavily patrol the prison from which Guzman escaped in July 2015.
Video footage released by authorities showed that his cell held a cot and a bathroom with a washbasin and, behind a partition wall, his shower where the mouth of the tunnel led.
The partition wall blocked the camera's view of a roughly 50-cm (20 inch) by 50-cm entrance hole to the mile-long tunnel which authorities said El Chapo used to escape.
This building houses the tunnel used by Guzman, to escape.
Reuters television toured the fugitive drug lord's escape tunnel, revealing a complex, well-hidden route that was air conditioned and allowed enough room for a quick exit.
During the escape, Guzman reportedly disposed of a bracelet that only he and a few other high-risk inmates had to wear, and smashed bulbs lighting up the tunnel as he fled, authorities have said.
Authorities said this motorcycle helped him escape.
Forbes put his wealth at $1 billion though investigators say it is impossible to know exactly how much he really made.
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