A second Mexican judge has cleared the extradition process for famed drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera. The judge’s ruling clears another hurdle in the legal wrangling between his lawyers, Mexican prosecutors, and the U.S. Department of Justice.
A Mexican judge handed down his ruling on Monday and notified Mexico’s Foreign Relations Secretariat bringing the process that much closer to fruition. Since his third capture earlier this year in Sinaloa, the topic of an extradition has been a heated one. Initially his attorney’s had pushed for a prompt extradition claiming the drug lord was being mistreated in the Mexican prison system. However, they have since changed their tune and put forward a series of legal obstacles aimed at keeping Guzman Loera in Mexico.
The specific extradition process faced by Guzman deals with a 12-count indictment out of the Western District of Texas where Guzman is not only charged with drug trafficking and money laundering activities, but also for the murder of a U.S. citizen and two relatives in Ciudad Juarez. Those murders were allegedly carried out by his cartel gunmen. Guzman and his partner Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada share the same charges including drug trafficking, money laundering, arms smuggling, and murder as part of a criminal enterprise.
The victims of that hit were Rafael Morales Valencia, Jaime Morales Valencia, and Guadalupe Morales Arreola, who were believed to be tied to the rival Juarez Cartel. The three men were kidnapped on May 7, 2010 during a wedding. Their bodies were found on May 10, 2010. At the time of the murders, Ciudad Juarez was going through a violent turf war between the Sinaloa Cartel and the Juarez Cartel.
Breitbart Texas had previously reported on the murder in Ciudad Juarez after the relatives of the three victims joined other victims of cartel violence in a massive civil lawsuit targeting various banking institutions. The lawsuit alleges the banks were complicit in allowing Mexican cartels to launder billions of dollars in illicit proceeds.
The Texas case against Guzman began in 2012 when federal agents identified Mario Alberto “Delta or El Dos” Iglesia Villegas for his role as a member of a Sinaloa Cartel hit-squad that operated on both sides of the border.
According to criminal complaints filed in the case by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the kidnapping was ordered by Jose Antonio “El Marrufo, Jaguar, Tono or 14” Torres Marrufo who personally handled the interrogation of the victims. Iglesia Villegas is identified in court records as a relative of Torres Marrufo and key member of his 16-man assassination squad.