The extradition of Mexican cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to the US has been temporarily halted after his lawyers filed appeals.
Mexico agreed to transfer El Chapo Guzman in May after the US guaranteed he would not face the death penalty.
However, the ruling means it could be months or even years before the drug lord is sent to the US, where he faces murder and drug smuggling charges.
El Chapo Guzman is being held in a maximum security prison near the US border.
He 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.
One of the appeals argues that the statute of limitations has run out on some crimes El Chapo Guzman is accused of in the US, his lawyer Jose Refugio Rodriguez told Associated Press.
El Chapo Guzman’s defense also argues some of the accusations lack direct evidence.
Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has been recaptured by Mexican authorities, six months after he escaped from a maximum-security jail.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto tweeted: “Mission accomplished: We got him.”
El Chapo (Shorty) Guzman, one of the world’s most-wanted drug lords, smuggled cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines to the US through the Sinaloa cartel he led.
He escaped from jail through a mile-long tunnel dug in the showers.
President Enrique Pena Nieto described Joaquin Guzman’s arrest as a “victory against impunity” and said it showed Mexicans could have confidence in the state’s ability to guarantee law and order.
“There is no group that it is impossible to confront,” he said.
El Chapo Guzman was apprehended following a shoot-out with Mexican marines in Los Mochis, a coastal city in his home state of Sinaloa, in north-west Mexico, the president said.
Five people are thought to have been killed in the raid, which involved the army and navy as well as police.
The US congratulated the Mexican government but did not indicate whether prosecutors would seek El Chapo Guzman’s extradition.
In a statement, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Joaquin Guzman had caused “significant violence, suffering and corruption on multiple continents”.
El Chapo Guzman’s July escape was his second – he was first arrested in Guatemala in 1993 and escaped from Puente Grande jail in 2001, reportedly in a laundry basket after bribing officials.
He was on the run for 13 years before being held again in 2014.
Authorities located him several days ago based on reports that he was in the Los Mochis area.
In October, Mexican officials said they had “broken up” and arrested the group responsible for helping him escape.
El Chapo Guzman’s wealth is estimated at $1 billion.
Despite being the leader of one of the world’s most powerful and violent drug cartels, El Chapo Guzman was seen by some in Sinaloa – where there are few job opportunities – as a modern-day Robin Hood figure who could offer more security to people than the government.
Following his escape, shopkeepers began selling souvenirs such as baseball caps branded with “El Chapo”.
Six key people, who allegedly helped fugitive drug cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman escape from jail in July, have been arrested in Mexico.
Among those detained is El Chapo Guzman’s brother-in-law and one of the two pilots who flew Guzman to his home state.
Mexico’s attorney general said a member of Guzman’s legal team, described as the mastermind, was also arrested.
El Chapo Guzman, aka Shorty, head of the Sinaloa cartel, escaped from a high-security prison through a specially dug tunnel.
Attorney General Arely Gomez told reporters on October 21 that the suspected mastermind of the escape had repeatedly entered Altiplano prison to visit El Chapo Guzman and update him on the operation’s progress.
She also said El Chapo Guzman’s brother-in-law had supervised the construction of the mile-long escape tunnel and organized transport.
“Today we are able to affirm that the group responsible for planning, organizing and carrying out the escape from outside the prison has been broken up,” Arely Gomez said, without naming the suspects.
The development comes days after officials revealed the drugs lord had suffered face and leg injuries when he narrowly evaded a police operation to recapture him in north-west Mexico earlier this month.
Arely Gomez confirmed on October 21 that after his escape, El Chapo Guzman traveled by land to the city of Queretaro, from where he caught a small plane to his home state of Sinaloa.
The drug lord’s escape was an embarrassment for Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who El Chapo Guzman taunted on Twitter after the event.
Several prison officials have already been arrested under suspicion of giving inside help to El Chapo Guzman, who fled through a tunnel that ran one mile from under a shower in his cell to outside the prison.
He was first arrested in Guatemala in 1993 and spent nearly a decade in another maximum-security Mexican jail before escaping, reportedly in a laundry basket.
El Chapo Guzman was on the run for 13 years before being held again in 2014 after a series of high-profile arrests of associates and covert surveillance by the US authorities.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.