Mexican drug lord Joaquín ‘El Chapo” Guzmán has been cleared for extradition and is now expected to answer charges in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California for cocaine importation. The notorious criminal will also face the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas for a range of charges, including murder, conspiracy and drug trafficking.
The Mexican government cleared the way for Guzmán’s extradition to the U.S. after receiving assurances from the U.S. government that he would not face the death penalty, which is not allowed under Mexican law. Attorneys for Guzmán have vowed to fight his extradition for as long as they can. Authorities expect the process to take at least a year before he is sent to the United States.
Guzmán is well known for his prison escapes. In July 2015, he escaped from Altiplano, a maximum security prison in Mexico, through a tunnel that was a mile long and connected to his cell’s shower. He was captured in January 2016 and transferred to a different prison.
Drug trafficking charges are treated very harshly under both state and federal law. People who are convicted of the offense may be sentenced to many years of prison and fined thousands of dollars. Criminal defense lawyers who are experienced with defending against drug cases may be able to identify problems with a prosecution’s case. By doing so, the attorneys may then be better equipped to build strong defense cases. Through filing evidentiary motions, it may be possible to get some of the evidence suppressed, meaning that it won’t be allowed to be introduced at trial against the defendant. Attorneys can sometimes also negotiate plea agreements for reduced sentences and lesser charges.
Source: FOX News Latino, “Drug lord ‘Chapo’ Guzmán’s extradition to U.S. cleared by Mexico,” May 20, 2016