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Mexico extraditions to US reach record high

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] announced Sunday that Mexico's extradition of 11 fugitives [press release] to the US on Saturday has brought the number of extraditions this year to a record 100. The individuals face charges ranging from conspiracy to distribute and distribution of narcotics, to money laundering, molestation, and murder. The announcement of the extraditions came the day before US Attorney General Eric Holder was due to meet with his Mexican counterpart Arturo Chavez [official profiles]. Holder applauded Mexico's cooperative efforts with the US:

By ensuring that alleged criminals are held accountable, we send a strong message that fleeing across the border does not mean you will escape justice. I am looking forward to meeting Attorney General Chavez tomorrow and discussing additional ways we as law enforcement partners can work together to hold such defendants, particularly alleged leaders and associates of drug cartels, accountable.

The Mexican Attorney General's Office [official website; in Spanish] also hailed the extraditions [press release, in Spanish], conducted pursuant to the treaty [text, PDF] between the US and Mexico, as "reinforc[ing] efforts to break down areas of impunity."

Mexico's increased cooperation with US authorities comes at a time when the US has promised a $1.4 billion aid package [JURIST report] to Mexico, which allocates a large portion of its aid to law enforcement activities. Chavez became Mexico's attorney general in September after the resignation of former attorney general Medina Mora [JURIST report] was accepted by President Felipe Calderon [official website]. Chavez's ascension to the office comes amid continued efforts to crack down on the Mexican drug cartels. Last month, more than 300 members of the La Familia drug cartel were arrested [DOJ press release] by federal agents. In August, 10 accused Mexican drug cartel leaders and 33 others were indicted [JURIST report] in New York and Chicago. In May, Mexican security forces arrested [JURIST report] 27 Mexican public officials on drug-related corruption charges. In April, the Mexican Senate passed an amendment [JURIST report] to the country's constitution that would permit the government to seize property from suspected drug traffickers and other criminals prior to conviction. Last November, Mexican authorities detained former assistant attorney general Noe Ramirez [JURIST report], accusing him of receiving monthly payments of $450,000 from the Pacifico drug cartel in exchange for confidential information regarding government anti-drug enforcement efforts.

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