El Chapo Sent to New York
NEW YORK (AP) -- Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, one of the world's most notorious drug kingpins, is finally headed for a court date the United States sought for two decades while he made brazen prison escapes and spent years on the run in Mexico.
Extradited Thursday to face U.S. drug trafficking and other charges, Mexico's most wanted man was expected to appear in a federal court in New York Friday, the same day Donald Trump, who has lashed out at Mexico, is inaugurated as president.
The Drug Enforcement Administration flew Guzman to New York from Ciudad Juarez late Thursday, according to federal officials.
The U.S. has been trying to get Guzman in a U.S. court since he was first indicted in Southern California in the early 1990s. Now in his late 50s, he faces the possibility of life in a U.S. prison under indictments in six jurisdictions around the United States, including New York, San Diego, Chicago and Miami.
He's expected to be prosecuted in Brooklyn, where an indictment accuses him of overseeing a massive trafficking operation that sent billions of dollars in profits back to Mexico. It says Guzman and other members of the Sinaloa cartel, one of the world's largest drug trafficking organizations, employed hit men who carried out murders, kidnappings and acts of torture.
Guzman, the cartel's convicted boss, had been held most recently at a prison near Ciudad Juarez, a border town across from El Paso, Texas. He was recaptured a year ago after escaping from a maximum-security prison for a second time, an episode that was highly embarrassing for President Enrique Pena Nieto's government.
Mexican officials were seen as eager to hand him off to the United States. But Guzman's lawyers fought his extradition, and attorney Andres Granados accused the government of carrying it out Thursday to distract from nationwide gasoline protests.
"It was illegal. They didn't even notify us," Granados said. "It's totally political."