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Could ‘El Chapo’ Be Tried In San Diego?

Aired 1/12/16 on KPBS Midday Edition.

Could 'El Chapo' Be Tried In San Diego?


Ev Meade, director, Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego

Sam Quinones, author, Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic


The U.S. Attorney's Office refused to comment Monday on the possibility that drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman will be extradited to San Diego in the wake of his re-capture in Mexico.

Guzman was recaptured during a shootout Friday after escaping from a Mexican prison last July.

A month before he escaped, U.S. authorities had sought his extradition.

"El Chapo" faces drug trafficking charges in the U.S. connected to his Sinaloa drug cartel.

A statement from the Office of Public Affairs at the Department of Justice shed some light on the situation:

While for law enforcement and security reasons the United States does not comment upon pending extradition requests before they become the subject of public judicial proceedings, I can confirm that it is the practice of the United States to seek extradition whenever defendants subject to U.S. charges are apprehended in another country.

Pursuant to the U.S./Mexico Extradition Treaty, in advance of submitting a full extradition request, either country may seek from the other a provisional arrest warrant for a fugitive; the treaty further contemplates that, after the fugitive has been arrested, a full extradition package will be submitted.

We can confirm that, at the request of the United States, Mexico issued such a provisional arrest warrant more than a decade ago, and that subsequent to the arrest of Guzman, the United States did submit full extradition requests to Mexico.

Guzman started his drug cartel in 1980 and presided over a powerful empire that supplied much of the marijuana, cocaine and heroin sold in the United States.

He was first arrested in Guatemala in 1993 and extradited to Mexico.

After his conviction, he was sent to a Mexican prison, but escaped in 2001 using a laundry cart.

His freedom ended in 2014, when he was apprehended in Mazatlan. Guzman was then sent back to prison, but made another daring prison breakout last summer.

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