Mexico launches captured drug lord El Chapo's US extradition process

Monday January 11 2016

Drug kingpin Joaquin

Drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is escorted to a helicopter at Mexico City's airport on January 8, 2016 following his recapture during an intense military operation in Los Mochis, Sinaloa state. AFP PHOTO | ALFREDO ESTRELLA 

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Mexican authorities formally launched on Sunday the process to extradite drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to the United States, two days after he was recaptured.

The attorney general's office said in a statement that Interpol Mexico agents went to Guzman's prison near Mexico City to execute two arrest warrants, launching the proceedings.

Judges will now have to issue a ruling and hand it over to the foreign ministry, which has to give the green light to any extradition.

"It must be noted that the defendant has the possibility of seeking an injunction against the decisions issued by the foreign ministry," the statement said.

The extradition bid marks a reversal from President Enrique Pena Nieto's refusal to send Guzman across the border prior to his July escape from a maximum-security prison.

Mexico received two US extradition requests last year on a slew of charges, including drug trafficking and homicide. Guzman is wanted in a half-dozen US states.

His attorney has vowed to challenge the extradition.

The world's most wanted drug baron was arrested in a military raid early Friday that left five suspects dead in Los Mochis, a coastal city in his native northwestern state of Sinaloa.