[JURIST] A Mexican judge temporarily suspended a US extradition order on Friday for drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman [US State Department backgrounder], even though the federal attorney general’s office had approved the order earlier that day. No reason was given for the suspension [Reuters report]. Guzman, a notorious drug lord and trafficker, escaped from a maximum security prison [JURIST report] in Mexico in early July through a tunnel built directly under his cell. US authorities had requested Guzman’s extradition on June 25 but the request was denied because Mexican authorities said he must serve time in his home country first. Guzman is wanted by the US for a number of criminal charges including cocaine smuggling and money laundering. Guzman had previously escaped from prison in 2001, and after 13 years on the run, he was captured in February 2014. A ruling on Guzman’s request to nullify the extradition order is expected on August 26.
Guzman was one of several drug lords that activists asked the ICC to investigate [JURIST report] in 2011. Commentators argue that Guzman’s escape has increased [NYT article] already-strained US-Mexico relations. For example, after Mexico’s interior secretary announced that Mexico and US officials were cooperating to recapture Guzman, he later indicated that no additional US assistance would be necessary. Guzman’s escape also represents a large setback [BBC news] for President Enrique Peña Nieto [official profile], who has repeatedly announced his commitment to put an end to Mexico’s drug cartels.