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Published: Sunday, 2/23/2014

U.S. plans to seek extradition of Sinaloa drug cartel kingpin

But Guzman likely to first face justice in Mexico

Guzman Guzman

WASHINGTON — U.S. prosecutors plan to seek the extradition of Mexico’s most-wanted man, drug cartel kingpin Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman, 56, to face trial in the United States. He was captured Saturday in the resort city of Mazatlan.

Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Brooklyn, said on Sunday that his office would request Guzman’s extradition to face a variety of charges.

Guzman, caught on Saturday in Mexico with help from U.S. security forces, had long run Mexico’s infamous Sinaloa cartel. His capture marks a major victory in the fight against drug gangs in Mexico.

It was not clear whether Mexico would agree to extradite him any time soon.

Sensitivities over the issue could mean he is more likely to face justice first in Mexico, where he still has an outstanding term to finish.

He broke out of prison, reportedly in a laundry cart, in 2001.

The United States had a $5 million bounty on Guzman’s head.

His cartel has smuggled billions of dollars worth of cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine into the United States, and fought vicious turf wars with other gangs across Mexico.

In addition to facing sealed U.S. criminal charges in Chicago and Brooklyn, Guzman was indicted in 2007 in Miami on cocaine smuggling charges, with additional charges added there last month.

He also was charged in 2012 in Texas with importing cocaine and marijuana, money laundering, firearms violations, and running a criminal enterprise that included murder.

Nearly 80,000 people have been killed in the last seven years along key smuggling routes.

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