Mexico will begin the process of extraditing recaptured drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to the United States, the Mexican attorney general’s office has announced.
It said the move was in line with US extradition requests from 2014.
On January 8, El Chapo Guzman was detained and sent back to the maximum-security prison he escaped from six months ago.
El Chapo Guzman, who was one of the world’s most wanted drug traffickers, escaped from the Altiplano prison in July through a tunnel dug in the showers.
That was his second escape – he was first arrested in Guatemala in 1993 and escaped from Puente Grande jail in 2001, reportedly in a laundry basket after bribing officials.
El Chapo Guzman was on the run for 13 years before being held again in 2014. Previous requests from the US have been turned down.
On January 9, Rolling Stone magazine published an article by Sean Penn based on a meeting he had with El Chapo Guzman at his secret hideout before his capture.
The two men discuss various topics, including drug trafficking. El Chapo Guzman is quoted as saying: “If there was no consumption, there would be no sales.”
No detail was given about the time frame for an extradition but experts say the process could take months.
The attorney general’s office said that lawyers for Joaquin Guzman would have three days to file objections and 20 more days to prove them, though that timeframe could be extended, AFP reports.
In a statement welcoming El Chapo Guzman’s recapture, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said he had caused “significant violence, suffering and corruption on multiple continents”.
The US filed requests in 2014 for his extradition so he could face charges of smuggling vast amounts of drugs into the country.
El Chapo Guzman, who was named Public Enemy Number One by the Chicago Crime Commission in 2013, has been indicted by at least seven US federal district courts.
He was arrested on January 8 in the north-western city of Los Mochis in his home state of Sinaloa – which he had come to dominate through his drugs cartel.
During the raid, El Chapo Guzman managed to flee through a drain but was later caught by marines in a shootout.
Five suspects were killed in the operation and one marine wounded.