"El Chapo" seeks annulment of his trial in New York

In a motion filed Thursday in federal court in Brooklyn, defenders of "El Chapo" said that his extradition was illegal

Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 04/08/2017 20:04 AFP New York Actualizada 20:04

Lawyers of Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán, one of the world's major drug dealers, called for the annulment of his trial in New York on the grounds that it violates the extradition treaty between Mexico and the United States.

In a motion filed Thursday in federal court in Brooklyn, defenders of El Chapo claimed that his extradition was illegal and made on the basis of "false and misleading statements and omissions."

Lawyers Michelle Gelernt and Michael Schneider also assert that the process should be dismissed because Mexico did not know and never accepted "the conditions of cruel and inhuman isolation" to which El Chapo has been subject since his arrival in New York, according to the document.

Mexico finally decided to extradite El Chapo to the US after the second escape from a Mexican prison in 2015, through a tunnel of 1 mile (1.5 km) long and 33 feet (10 meters) deep.

Lawyers recall in the motion that Mexico initially agreed to extradite their client to Texas or California, two of the seven districts where the former Sinaloa Cartel boss faces legal action.

But on January 19, it changed its mind and placed him on a plane bound for New York, where he has been in prison awaiting trial, which will begin on April 16, 2018.

Accused of running one of the largest drug empires in the Americas and sending more than 200 tons of cocaine to the US, "El Chapo" faces 17 charges and remains innocent. Only the first, leading the Sinaloa Cartel, may imply life imprisonment.

Lawyers question that the Mexican government has granted an exemption to an extradition treaty rule that states that the accused will only be tried for the specific charges for which he was extradited.

They also reject the will of the prosecution to confiscate USD$14 billion, the equivalent of what his cartel would have produced in decades, since the extradition documents do not mention the matter.

It is unknown what happened to the fortune of El Chapo. Mexico's attorney general has assured that the US has not found "a dollar" of his money since he apparently did not use the financial system in his criminal business.