Mexican authorities say Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman may have a new home this winter: The United States.
An official for Mexico’s national security organization said Friday that they hope they can push things through quickly and hand the drug kingpin over to American authorities, where another escape from prison would be less of a concern.
“We hope (to do it) in January or February,” Renato Sales Heredia, the Mexican national commissioner of security, said during an interview with Mexican TV channel Televisa.
Guzman is one of the most notorious drug kingpins in the world and is wanted in the United States on a variety of charges from murder to drug trafficking. The drug lord has a lengthy history trying to keep his shoes off of American soil. Guzman’s first prison escape came in 2001 after a Mexican Supreme Court decision made it easier for authorities there to extradite people to the United States. He wasn’t caught until 2014, when authorities finally tracked him down.
As talks of extraditing him to the United States continued, he was able to escape again in 2015 through a long tunnel that led out from the Altiplano maximum-security prison near Mexico City, where he was being held. That escape was generally seen as an embarrassment for President Enrique Pena Nieto.
Guzman was recaptured in January in the northwest state of Sinaloa and then sent back to the same prison. Pena Nieto said then that he wanted to extradite the drug king pin as soon as possible.
Whatever happens to Guzman’s cartel, it’s unlikely to stop the massive drug empire that he built and is often likened to the size of a Fortune-500 company. Because of the structure of the organization — the Sinaloa drug cartel is actually a number of different organizations with leaders within each individual one — losing Guzman won’t likely result in the cartel’s collapse.