Alleged Mexican drug lord ‘El Chappo’ faces indictment in New York today
NEW YORK – One day after Mexico extradited top drug lord Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Loera “El Chapo” Guzman to New York, the alleged Mexican drug lord faced a federal court appearance here Friday.
The timing of his extradition was reportedly tied to the transition of power between outgoing President Obama and incoming President Trump.
Guzman Loera is charged in six separate indictments throughout the United States; however, the indictment filed in the Eastern District of New York contains a provision that he must first enter the United States in that district to preserve the Eastern District of New York indictment. As such, Guzman Loera landed Thursday at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Islip, New York.
Guzman, 59, was one of the world’s most wanted drug kingpins until he was captured a year ago. Six months earlier, he escaped from of a high-security penitentiary in central Mexico through a mile-long tunnel, his second dramatic prison escape.
“The government ... today handed Mr. Guzman Loera to the U.S. authorities,” the Mexican foreign ministry said in a statement, referring to a court decision on Thursday rejecting a legal challenge by his lawyers against extradition.
Mexican officials said the timing of the move was both a last-minute gift to outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama and an olive branch to incoming president Donald J. Trump.
His career began in the opium and cannabis-farming hills of the northern state of Sinaloa but he grew to oversee perhaps the world’s largest transnational cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine smuggling organization.
The U.S. Justice Department thanked Mexico for “extensive cooperation and assistance in securing the extradition of Guzman Loera to the United States.”