Mexican drug boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman will file multiple legal challenges against the government’s decision to extradite him to the United States, his lawyers have said.
The announcement came on Friday just hours after Mexico’s foreign ministry approved Guzman’s extradition. The legal challenges could delay his transfer to face charges in the US for weeks.
The ministry said it received assurances that Guzman would not be given the death penalty, adding that he would face charges including drug trafficking, money laundering and murder in US federal courts in California and Texas.
Juan Pablo Badillo, one of Guzman’s lawyers, told Reuters he would file “many” legal challenges in the coming days.
“El Chapo” was the head of the Sinaloa drug cartel and one of the world’s most wanted drug kingpins until his capture in January, six months after he broke out of a high-security jail in central Mexico through a mile-long tunnel.
Guzman was first captured in 1993 in Guatemala, but he escaped from a prison in western Mexico in 2001 by hiding in a laundry cart.
In July 2015, he fled a maximum-security prison near Mexico City just 17 months after authorities captured him following a 13-year manhunt.
He escaped through a 1.5km tunnel with a redesigned motorcycle on special tracks, emerging in a house outside the prison.
The ministry’s decision to extradite Guzman marked a change in the Mexican government’s position.
Embarrassed by the drug lord’s escapes, President Enrique Peña Nieto had previously refused to hand him over to the US.