'El Chapo' Guzmán has taken the next step in his fight against extradition

Lawyers for jailed Mexican kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán filed two appeals against his extradition late Monday night in Mexico City, according to the Associated Press.

José Refugio Rodríguez, one of Guzmán’s attorneys, told the AP that the appeals argue that the statute of limitations on some of the charges leveled against Guzmán have expired and that some of the accusations against him are based on hearsay, rather than direct evidence.

Guzmán’s appeals come a little more than a month after the Mexican government approved the drug lord’s extradition to courts in Texas and California.

Despite the extradition’s approval, Guzmán’s legal team can still file injunctions against his transfer, and Rodríguez said on Tuesday that the process could take three years.

In California, Guzmán has been accused of conspiracy to import and distribute cocaine, and he has been accused of criminal association, weapons possession, homicide, and money laundering in Texas.

The Mexican government’s approval of Guzmán’s transfer north was conditioned in part on the US waiving the death penalty. Rodríguez argued there are insufficient guarantees that will happen, saying that the US embassy in Mexico doesn’t have the power to ensure it.

“Who is the ambassador to promise this?” Rodríguez said, according to the AP. “He is the United States representative for diplomatic relations and lacks the authority to say that the death penalty will not be applied.”

While his extradition has only been approved to two US jurisdictions, charges are pending against Guzmán in five federal-district courts, including Chicago, Miami, and Brooklyn, New York. While the US government has not committed to a venue for his trial, should he be transferred to the US, many see Brooklyn as a strong candidate.

Guzmán is currently detained outside of Ciudad Juarez, just across the border from El Paso, Texas. He was suddenly transferred there from Altiplano federal prison in central Mexico in early May, reportedly because of fears he was plotting another breakout.

While Guzmán is secure in jail — for the time being, at least — reports indicate that his home turf may be veering into chaos.

Earlier this month, scores of armed men raided the town where the kingpin was born, leaving several people dead. The attackers were reportedly backed by elements of the Beltran Leyva Organisation, a once powerful cartel that has warred with Guzmán’s Sinaloa cartel since 2008.

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