Extradition to U.S. is likely

Mexico is willing to extradite drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to the U.S., a federal law enforcement official said Saturday. It’s a sharp reversal from the official position after his last capture in 2014.

“Mexico is ready. There are plans to cooperate,” said the official, who spoke on condition anonymity.

But he cautioned that there could be a lengthy wait before U.S. prosecutors can get their hands on Guzman, the trafficker who was recaptured Friday after six months on the run.

Top officials in the party of President Enrique Peña Nieto also floated the idea of extradition, which they had flatly ruled out before Guzman’s escape from Mexico’s top maximum security prison on July 11.

“He has a lot of outstanding debts to pay in Mexico, but if it’s necessary, he can pay them in other places,” said Manlio Fabio Beltrones, president of Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party.

Guzman’s defense already has filed six motions to challenge extradition proceedings.

“They can drip, drip, milk it,” said Juan Masini, former U.S. Department of Justice attache at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico.”

Associated Press