The Mexican government has agreed to hand over drug lord Joaquin Guzman to the US for trial. The head of the Sinaloa drug cartel was captured in January after a spectacular escape from a high-security prison last year.
Joaquin Guzman, nicknamed "El Chapo" or "Shorty" is to face charges including drug trafficking, money laundering and murder, in US federal courts.
"The Mexican government grants his international extradition to the government of the United States of America for him to be tried," officials of the Mexican foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday.
Extradition procedures for "El Chapo" began earlier this month when a Mexico City judge endorsed a request to extradite the Sinaloa kingpin on cocaine charges in California. Last week, a court approved a second US extradition request based on a case lodged at a US federal court in Texas. The foreign ministry had said at the time that a decision would be reached shortly.
Guzman has 30 days to appeal against the decision. One of his lawyers, Juan Pablo Badillo, said he would file "many" legal challenges in the next days.
Jorge Refugio Rodriguez, another one of Guzman's legal advisers, said he would fight extradition unless US officials ensured good prison conditions for his client. He also said that the drug lord's current cell did not have the best conditions for his health and that Guzman had asked officials to give him products to clean his cell at the prison where he is being held in Ciudad Juarez, just across the border from the US city of El Paso, Texas.
Guzman's group, the Sinaloa cartel, has been involved in a war of control for drug trafficking routes through Ciudad Juarez, at Mexico's border with the United States. Guzman escaped prison in 2001 and was detained only in 2014. He staged a spectacular escape from Mexico's high-security Altiplano prison in July 2015, sneaking out through a 1.5-kilometer-wide tunnel from his cell's shower.
He was recaptured in January and shifted to Altiplano and is now being held at a prison in Ciudad Juarez.
mg/msh (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)