US judge will not dismiss ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s indictment

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FILE PHOTO: Mexico's top drug lord Joaquin
Mexican
drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman arrives at Long Island
MacArthur airport in New York, January 19, 2017, after his
extradition from Mexico.

Thomson
Reuters


NEW YORK (Reuters) – A U.S. judge on Friday rejected an effort by
Joaquin Guzman, the accused Mexican drug lord known as “El
Chapo,” to dismiss a massive international narcotics conspiracy
indictment on the ground he was extradited improperly to
Brooklyn.

While not challenging the merits of the case, Guzman’s lawyers
claimed that the indictment violated the extradition treaty
between the United States and Mexico because Mexican authorities
initially agreed to extradite their client only to southern
California or western Texas.

The lawyers questioned how Mexico could have suddenly consented
to have U.S. authorities hurry Guzman to Brooklyn in New York
City to face charges other than those for which his extradition
had been sought, violating the so-called Rule of Specialty.

But in a brief order, U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan said Guzman
had no legal right to challenge the Brooklyn indictment because
Mexico had not objected to it.

Cogan also said the federal appeals court in Manhattan, whose
jurisdiction includes the Brooklyn courthouse, upheld this
principle in late July in an unrelated case.


El Chapo Guzman police escort New York Brooklyn Bridge
A
motorcade carrying Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman crosses the Brooklyn
Bridge following his court appearance in Brooklyn, New York,
February 3, 2017.

REUTERS/Brendan
McDermid


“Here, there is no protest or objection by Mexico, nor is there
an express provision in the extradition treaty between the United
States and Mexico,” Cogan wrote. “Therefore, defendant’s motion
to dismiss the indictment based on an alleged Rule of Specialty
violation is denied.”

Michelle Gelernt, a federal public defender representing Guzman,
had no immediate comment.

Prosecutors accused Guzman, 60, of running a global cocaine,
heroin and methamphetamine smuggling operation as the leader of
the Sinaloa Cartel, and playing a major role in a decade-long
Mexican drug war where more than 100,000 people have died.

Guzman faces life in prison if convicted. He is being held
without bail.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Jonathan
Oatis)



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