Drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman can be extradited to U.S., Mexican judge rules

Drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman can be extradited to the United States to face drug trafficking charges, a Mexico City judge ruled Monday, according to reports. It's unclear when the extradition would occur. The ruling was first reported by Reuters and Mexican media outlets. EL CHAPO'S PRISON IS WORST IN MEXICO FOR INMATE CONDITIONS Guzman — who twice staged Hollywood-worthy jailbreaks — was moved Saturday from a central Mexican lockup to a prison in the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez. The prison where authorities transferred “El Chapo” is rated as the worst in the federal penitentiary system for inmate conditions. A 2015 report by the governmental National Human Rights Commission gave Cefereso No. 9 in Juarez, which borders El Paso, Texas, a 6.63 rating on a scale of 0 to 10, the lowest for any of Mexico’s 21 federal prisons. By comparison, the maximum-security Altiplano facility where the Sinaloa cartel boss was confined before was 10th-best with a rating of 7.32. Mexican authorities said the move was part of a routine policy to rotate inmates for security reasons. Guzman escaped Altiplano through a mile-long tunnel in 2014. With News Wire Services Continue Reading

Mexican actress Kate del Castillo wanted for questioning about encounters with drug kingpin Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman

Kate del Castillo is wanted for a starring role — as a witness. Mexican authorities have ordered that the actress be located and presented for questioning about her encounters with cartel kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. Two security officials confirm that federal prosecutors issued the order after the movie and telenovela star did not appear at a previous appointment to give a statement. MEXICAN ACTRESS KATE DEL CASTILLO'S CONNECTION TO EL CHAPO SET UP MEET WITH SEAN PENN They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. The officials said Thursday that the order applies only to Mexican territory. Del Castillo, 43, is a naturalized U.S. citizen and has lived for years in Los Angeles. They added that if del Castillo were found to be in Mexico, she would be detained to make a statement as a witness and then released after doing so. FROM CHAVES TO KATRINA TO EL CHAPO: A HISTORY OF SEAN PENN'S DIPLOMATIC DOOZIES Del Castillo reportedly brokered the secret meeting between the drug lord and American actor Sean Penn to discuss a possible movie about Guzman's life. Penn later wrote about the meeting for Rolling Stone, a meeting authorities say helped them track down the drug kingpin. The friendship between the telenovela star and "El Chapo" apparently blossomed after she mentioned him in a series of 2012 tweets. Guzman broke out of prison in July, and was captured last month. With News Wire Services Continue Reading

Costa Rican authorities searching for drug lord Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman after son tweets location in photo

His father is a criminal mastermind. But Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar? He might not be so bright. Salazar apparently tweeted a photo of himself and his fugitive father, Mexican kinpin Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman dining in plain sight at an outdoor restaurant. But he seems to have forgotten to disable the function that shows the location of the photo. So underneath the image, it said "Costa Rica." Salazar, 29, is also wanted by authorities. TRUMP SAYS HE'LL KICK EL CHAPO'S A-- His father runs the mighty Sinaloa drug cartel and made an audacious escape in July from a federal prison, where a tunnel had been dug right up to his cell. He exited by climbing down a hole underneath his shower stall and rode a motorcycle on rails underground to an escape hatch a mile away. The U.S. has offered $5 million for his capture. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has been roundly criticized and accused of leading a corrupt government following the brazen bust-out. Photos showing the fugitive drinking beer and flying in a plane have also surfaced. Costa Rican authorities told reporters they are investigating the Twitter post, local media reported. The photo from Salazar's account clearly shows him at restaurant table, flanked by two men whose faces are obscured by computer graphics. The man on his right, who is partially visible, appears to be Guzman. "August here, you already know with whom," a caption says. The location appears because of a smart phone function that automatically pins the photo's location unless it is disabled. The post with the Costa Rica tag has since been removed from the son's account, though the photo itself remains. ON A MOBILE DEVICE? WATCH THE VIDEO HERE. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Drug kingpin Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman used a child as a ‘human shield’ to evade capture in October raid

Drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman used a child as a "human shield" to evade capture in a raid following his clandestine October meeting with actor Sean Penn, a Mexican law enforcement official said. A Mexican marine had Guzman in his sights — but didn't fire because he was shielding himself with the child, the daughter of his cook, the law enforcement official told the Wall Street Journal. Authorities say that Penn's interview of El Chapo led authorities to Guzman in a rural part of Durango state. Guzman was able to escape, and evaded capture until Friday. 'EL CHAPO' GETS A NEW PRISON HAIRDO The drug lord has a history of violence and cunning. The leader of the Sinaloa Cartel — known for supplying cocaine, marijuana, heroin and methamphetamine to the United States — expanded the cartel's power in the early 1990s through gang warfare and bloodshed. He was arrested for murder and trafficking in 1993, but escaped in 2001. His cartel carried out beheadings and revenge killings throughout the next decade as Guzman evaded custody. He was finally captured again in 2014, and escaped from a maximum security prison a year later using an elaborate tunnel system underneath the prison. "I killed two or three thousand," he told law enforcement at the time of his 2014 capture. "I'm a drug trafficker. I don't kidnap or steal or extort or anything like that." SEAN PENN'S SECRET INTERVIEW HELPED MEXICAN AUTHORITIES DISCOVER THE NOTORIOUS DRUG LORD Guzman's violent past stands in contrast to his portrayal in Penn's article for "Rolling Stone." "I took some comfort in a unique aspect of El Chapo's reputation among the heads of drug cartels in Mexico: That, unlike many of his counterparts who engage in gratuitous kidnapping and murder, El Chapo is a businessman first, and only resorts to violence when he deems it advantageous to himself or his business interests," Penn Continue Reading

U.S. sent extradition request for drug lord Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman just a few weeks before he escaped prison: Mexico officials

Mexico's government received an extradition request from the United States for Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman a couple of weeks before the drug lord's escape from prison last Saturday, a government spokesman said on Friday. The request was made on June 25 via a diplomatic note, the spokesman said in response to a question from Reuters. The confirmation followed comments made by Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong to reporters late on Thursday that suggested a request had, in fact, been made. Mexico had previously said it expected a request but had indicated in January that Guzman would not be handed over because he would serve time in his home country. Guzman is wanted by U.S. authorities for a variety of criminal charges including cocaine smuggling and money laundering. He broke out of Mexico's top maximum security prison through a tunnel that surfaced right into his cell. The failure to extradite him has been heavily criticized by the government's critics since the jail break. Guzman's Sinaloa Cartel has smuggled billions of dollars worth of drugs into the United States and is blamed for thousands of deaths through addiction and gang violence. A massive manhunt is underway to capture him. Continue Reading

EXCLUSIVE: Mexican druglord Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman charged with 12 murders in new indictment

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn have charged the world’s biggest druglord with 12 murders in a new indictment, the Daily News has learned. Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman has been sitting in a Mexican jail under heavy guard since last February, when the billionaire head of the Sinaloa cartel was captured in a dramatic raid led by Mexico’s military with support from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Marshals Service. Guzman’s reputed successor as the cartel kingpin, Ismael (El Mayo) Zambada, has also been indicted for the dozen killings. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrea Goldbarg and Steve Tiscione also presented new evidence to a grand jury last month of several murder conspiracies and the laundering of $14 billion in drug money overseen by the kingpins, according to court documents. The indictment unsealed in Brooklyn Federal Court alleges Guzman and Zambada “employed ‘sicarios,’ or hit men, who carried out hundreds of acts of violence, including murders, assaults, kidnappings, assassinations and acts of torture.” The U.S. government has not made a formal request to Mexico for Guzman’s extradition to face justice here. Guzman faces federal charges in at least seven districts in the U.S. and was previously indicted in Brooklyn Federal Court in 2009 on drug-trafficking charges only. It is widely believed that if Mexico hands him over his first stop will be New York City, sources said. The new indictment does not signal Guzman’s removal from Mexico is imminent, another source cautioned. “If he’s extradited, the charges and the paperwork are now in place,” the source said. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder had called Guzman’s capture a “landmark achievement.” The pint-sized Guzman — whose nickname means “Shorty” — had been on the run since 2001 after bribing his way out of a prison in Mexico. Mexico’s bloody drug Continue Reading

Mexican court upholds ruling suspending extradition of Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman to U.S.

A Mexican court has upheld a ruling suspending the extradition of kingpin Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman to the U.S. to stand trial on scores of narcotics trafficking charges. The world's most wanted drug lord escaped from a maximum-security prison in Mexico one month ago. Guzman fled through an elaborate tunnel system built directly under his jail cell. Surveillance video showed him escaping through a trap door in the floor. U.S. HAD ASKED FOR EL CHAPO'S EXTRADITION BEFORE HIS DARING ESCAPE FROM MEXICAN PRISON The head of the massive Sinaloa cartel previously escaped a Mexican prison in 2001, when guards snuck him out in a laundry basket. The Mexican government was deeply embarrassed by Guzman's latest breakout. Several prison employees have been arrested and rumors run rampant with allegations of corruption and government participation in the outrageous escape. Tuesday's court decision followed a petition filed by Guzman's lawyers asking for the extradition warrant to be thrown out, according to Agence France-Presse. Continue Reading

U.S. will seek extradition for drug lord Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman: Mexico’s attorney general

Mexico's attorney general said on Tuesday he expects the United States to submit an extradition request soon for drug lord Joaquin "Shorty" (El Chapo) Guzman, who was Mexico's most wanted man until his capture last February. "I'm aware they're going to ask me, and it won't be a problem to do all the paperwork to determine at the time what will be most convenient," Attorney General Jesus Murillo told reporters in Mexico City of the U.S. extradition request. Murillo did not say which state he expected to make the request, although U.S. prosecutors in New York said following Guzman's capture that it planned to make one. From northeastern Mexico, Guzman headed the Sinaloa Cartel, one of the most powerful drug smuggling outfits in the world. Fighting between drug gangs and security forces has claimed about 100,000 lives in Mexico over the past eight years. Captured for the first time in 1993, Guzman escaped his Mexican prison in 2001 and went on to feature in the Forbes list of billionaires thanks to his success with the Sinaloa Cartel. He is wanted in the United States on a variety of criminal charges including cocaine smuggling, money laundering and running a criminal enterprise, which included murder. States including New York, California and Illinois have issued indictments against him. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Sinaloa drug cartel head Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman escapes Mexican maximum security prison through tunnel at shower: officials

¡Se escapó de nuevo! Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman escaped a maximum security prison through a 1-mile tunnel that opened into the shower area of his cell, the country’s top security official announced Sunday. The stunning scheme — which is a huge embarrassment for the Mexican government — is the second time Guzman has escaped prison. The notorious head of the Sinaloa Cartel fled through an elaborate, ventilated escape hatch allegedly built without the detection of authorities at the maximum security federal prison that Mexican officials vowed he’d never leave. Eighteen employees from various parts of the Altiplano prison, 55 miles west of Mexico City, have been taken in for questioning, Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido said in a news conference. Guzman was last seen about 9 p.m. Saturday in the shower area of his cell, according to a statement from the National Security Commission. He was at some point lost by the prison’s security camera surveillance network. Upon checking his cell, authorities found it empty and a 20-by-20-inch hole near the shower, which revealed the scope of his extraordinarily elaborate escape. Guzman dropped by ladder into a hole 10 yards deep that connected with a tunnel about 1.7 yards high that was fully ventilated and had lighting, Rubido said. Authorities also found a motorcycle adapted to run on rails that they believe was used to carry dirt out and tools in during the construction. The tunnel terminated in a half-built house in a rural farm field near the prison, according to radio transmissions among authorities who cordoned off the structure. It was difficult to believe that such an elaborate structure could have been built without the detection of authorities, though photographs show the corrections facility surrounded by construction, with large open Continue Reading

Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera, aka Shorty, makes Forbes Billionaires List

Drugs are big money.    Case-in-point: the fat wallet of “El Chapo.”  Wait, who? Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera made the Forbes Billionaires List this week.  He's the 701th member of the list with an estimated net worth of $1 billion. Guzman Loera is the head of the Sinaloa drug cartel.  He escaped from Mexican prison in 2001, CNN reports.   The Attorney General of Mexico was not pleased: "I will never accept that a criminal could be recognized as someone distinguished, even if it is by a magazine like Forbes," Medina Mora said at a drug traffic summit Thursday in Vienna, Austria, CNN reports. Forbes is "comparing the deplorable activity of a criminal wanted in Mexico and abroad with that of honest businessmen," he said. Nor is the Mexican president:  "It is very sad the intensification of a campaign, which seems to me, has been launched against Mexico," President Felipe Calderon said. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading