Judge re­jects El Chapo’s plea to dis­miss charge

The Philippine Star - - WORLD NEWS -

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A US 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 US 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 US 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, US 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.

“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, in an email said her of­fice was “dis­ap­pointed, but not sur­prised” with the or­der.

“We still be­lieve Mr. Guz­man’s rights un­der the treaty were vi­o­lated, and given that other cir­cuit courts give the de­fen­dant the right to ob­ject to vi­o­la­tions of ex­tra­di­tion treaties, hope that the Supreme Court will de­cide this is­sue fa­vor­ably to Mr. Guz­man,” she said.

Pros­e­cu­tors ac­cused Guz­man, 60, of run­ning a global co­caine, heroin and metham­phetamine smug­gling op­er­a­tion as leader of the Si­naloa Car­tel.


File photo shows Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guz­man be­ing es­corted by a sol­dier at a fed­eral han­gar in Mex­ico City.

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