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Mexico agrees to extradite drug lord Guzman to U.S.

South Carolina readers may be interested in learning that the Mexican government has agreed to extradite infamous drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to the United States to face various drug trafficking charges. The U.S. has promised that he will not face the death penalty, according to a statement made by the Mexican Foreign Ministry on May 20.

In early May, a judge in Mexico determined that the legal terms of the country's extradition treaty with the U.S. had been met in Guzman's case. The drug lord will be sent to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas to face charges of organized crime, conspiracy, murder, money laundering and weapons possession. He will also face charges of importing cocaine and possession with the intent to distribute cocaine before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. He has also been indicted by other U.S. federal jurisdictions, including Brooklyn, Chicago, Manhattan and Miami.

Guzman's lawyers have 30 days to appeal the Foreign Ministry's decision and have vowed to fight to keep their client in Mexico for as long as possible. Legal experts say that it could over a year before Guzman arrives in the U.S. The kingpin escaped from maximum security Altiplano prison near Mexico City in July 2015, but he was recaptured in January by the Mexican Marines. He is currently being held at a prison near Ciudad Juarez.

Drug trafficking crimes are very serious and can lead to significant fines and prison time. Individuals facing such charges could help their case by retaining a criminal defense attorney as soon possible. Legal counsel could protect a client's constitutional rights during the legal process and work to develop affirmative defenses that may defeat or mitigate the prosecution's case.

Source: FOX News Latino, "Drug lord 'Chapo' Guzmán's extradition to U.S. cleared by Mexico," May 20, 2016

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