The notorious drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, head of the Sinaloa cartel, has been captured as a result of an operation coordinated by Mexican and U.S. authorities.
Guzman was arrested on Saturday February 22 at 6 am, inside a resort in the port of Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico.
Now that Mexico’s most powerful drug lord is in custody, the question of who gets first crack at prosecuting him comes into play.
Guzman, who’s been a key player in the ongoing violence that has reportedly claimed tens of thousands of lives since 2006, is likely to face a host of charges in Mexico for his role as the head of the Sinaloa drug cartel.
In the United States, there are grand juries from approximately seven U.S. federal district courts that have filed indictments against Guzman for a range of charges.
The United States started calling for “El Chapo’s” extradition in mere hours after the declaration spread of his arrest Saturday morning at a condominium in Mazatlan.
In 2013, Chicago’s crime commission named Guzman “Public Enemy No. 1” and proclaimed his gang supplied most of the city’s illicit drugs.
Jack Riley, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s office in Chicago, Illinois, feels that federal prosecutors there have the best case against Guzman in the United States.
“I fully intend for us to have him tried here,” Riley avowed.
George Grayson, a government professor at the College of William and Mary who studies Mexico’s cartels, believes Mexican domestic politics will probably play a considerable role in how Mexico decides Guzman’s legal future.
“It’s going to be a completely political decision,” Grayson explained. “It’s going to be framed by how does this help … in next year’s congressional elections.”
Will Guzman’s arrest merely cause a hiccup (if even that) in the daily procedures as the Sinaloa cartel assigns his successor, or will this be the first step in the dismantling of their operations? Only time will tell.