Drug kingpin 'El Chapo' can be extradited to US, Mexican judge rules

A judge in Mexico ruled that the convicted drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman can be extradited to the United States, Mexican court officials announced Monday. Still, despite his sudden prison transfer over the weekend, it was unlikely the drug lord would be extradited for at least a few weeks, a foreign ministry source told Reuters.

A Mexican security official told The Associated Press Guzman was moved to a less-secure prison, in a region that is one of his cartel's strongholds.

The official said that in general the Cefereso No. 9 prison on the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez, across from El Paso, Texas, is not as impregnable as the maximum-security Altiplano facility near Mexico City where he had been held. The official wasn't authorized to discuss Guzman's case publicly and agreed to do so only if not quoted by name.

The official said, however, that Guzman is being held in a maximum-security wing where the same protocols are being enforced as in Altiplano, including 24-hour monitoring via a camera in his cell.

But Michael Vigil, the former head of international operations for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, wondered at the logic of sending Guzman to a lesser lockup in territory firmly controlled by his Sinaloa cartel underlings.

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