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Mexico court temporarily blocks extradition of drug lord

#Mexico #court #temporarily #blocks #extradition #drug #lord

A Mexican court on Monday temporarily blocked the extradition of a drug lord wanted for the murder of an undercover US agent, dampening Washington’s hopes of a quick surrender.

Rafael Caro Quintero, 69, is on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list for the 1985 kidnapping, torture and murder of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) special agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena.

A federal judge in the western state of Jalisco has ruled that Caro Quintero cannot be extradited to the United States without due extradition procedures.

It’s not known how long the process will take, but any delay is likely to disappoint US officials.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland said on Friday that Washington would seek the “immediate extradition” of the drug lord.

Caro Quintero’s arrest on Friday came nine years after he was released by a court on formal grounds after serving 28 years of a 40-year sentence in Mexico for the Camarena murder.

By the time Mexico’s Supreme Court overturned the decision, Caro Quintero had already gone into hiding.

His defense team is trying to get his release again, alleging procedural errors in his arrest, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told reporters.

“We will make sure that there is no corruption or violations of the law,” he said.

When asked about the US extradition request for Caro Quintero, Lopez Obrador said only that it would be “decided by the competent authority”.

Caro Quintero was arrested by Mexican marines in the town of Choix, northwest Sinaloa state, and is being held at the Altiplano Maximum Security Prison in central Mexico.

Lopez Obrador insisted that no DEA personnel were involved in the drug lord’s arrest and denied that it was the result of pressure from Washington, saying, “We are an independent government.”

Caro Quintero aka “Rafa” has a $20 million bounty on his head.

He is accused of co-founding the now-defunct Guadalajara drug cartel, according to US authorities, and currently runs an arm of the notorious Sinaloa cartel.

Fourteen Mexican marines who took part in the operation died in a helicopter crash after the arrest of Caro Quintero.

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