HOUSTON - Now that the world's most notorious drug trafficker has been arrested in Mexico, the question is whether Joaquin Guzman will be extradited to the United States.
Guzman, better known as "El Chapo," was formally charged with federal drug trafficking in Mexico Monday. Over the weekend the Mexican Marines with help from the DEA, arrested the head of the powerful Sinaloa cartel at a hotel in Mazatlan.
In addition to being Mexico's most wanted fugitive, Guzman is facing indictments in several U.S. jurisdictions, including Texas.
"That doesn't mean that Mexico will necessarily extradite him," UH international law professor Jordan Paust said. "It means that they were probably grateful that we could provide intelligence and other forms of assistance."
The DEA played a major role in Guzman's capture; partly because Texas along with California and Chicago, are among several U.S. jurisdictions who want the chance to prosecute Guzman, the man the DEA called the "Godfather of the Drug World."
"You can understand the concern of the United States," Paust said. "We would want him here so that we can prosecute him and not have him escape again from prison."
Guzman escaped from prison in 2001 while he was in Mexican custody.
But Paust pointed out that Mexico doesn't typically extradite its citizens if the death penalty is a possibility, which is the case with Guzman in the U.S. Mexico does not have the death penalty.
"It's going to be up to the presidents of the two countries to decide what's in the best interest in terms of foreign policy interests," Paust said.
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