Mexico is willing to extradite drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to the United States, following what could be a lengthy legal process, a Mexican law enforcement official told the Associated Press on Saturday.
"Mexico is ready. There are plans to cooperate with the U.S.," said the official, who spoke on condition anonymity because he wasn't authorized to comment.
The statement reflects a sharp reversal in the country's official position, prior to the wealthy kingpin's escape from a Mexican maximum security prison in 2015.
But the official cautioned that there could be a lengthy wait before U.S. prosecutors can get their hands on Guzman, the most-wanted trafficker who was recaptured Friday after six months on the run: "You have to go through the judicial process, and the defense has its elements too."
From Hal Eisner:
Joaquin Guzman - "El Chapo" - was arrested before dawn this morning in what was described as a dramatic and bloody raid in his hometown of Mochis. That's in the state of Sinaloa some distance from the maximum security prison he escaped 6 months ago.
An escape of legendary proportions thru a one mile-long tunnel built under the bath area of his prison cell. He fled right under the noses of prison guards. El Chapo got away leaving behind the cart apparently used to remove dirt in a tunnel complete with a ventilation system.
Too many, especially the Mexican Government, the arrest was a relief. But, not so much to Carlos Mendoza with LA Impact; an agency that's worked with law enforcement in tracking down drug cartel members like Guzman. El Chapo is wanted in a string of US States including California on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering.
To Mendoza, unless he is extradited to the United States and locked up in the Supermax prison in Colorado, there is a chance he'll escape again in Mexican custody.
During the early morning raid, 5 members of El Chapo's guard were killed and Mexican Marines confiscated 9 weapons and a rocket launcher. The big question now is, can Joaquin Guzman be kept from escaping again? And, will he be extradited to the United States.