McCaul: Extradite ‘El Chapo’ to the U.S.

February 23, 2014
Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, the most influential drug kingpin in the world, was arrested by Mexican and U.S. authorities. Here’s a look at the cartel he built, and the legacy of violence he leaves behind. (Davin Coburn/The Washington Post)

Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Tex.) on Sunday called on Mexico to consider extraditing alleged drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán to the United States for prosecution, noting that the recently captured suspect escaped from a Mexican prison in 2001.

McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, suggested on ABC's "This Week"that U.S. authorities may be better equipped to hold the suspect.

"There is corruption in [Mexico],” McCaul said, adding: “I would ask that the Mexicans consider extraditing him to the United States, where he would be put into a super-max prison under tight security, where he cannot escape."

Mexican Navy commandos arrested Guzmán on Saturday in the Pacific coast resort town of Mazatlan, with help from U.S. law enforcement agencies.  

"This is the largest, biggest drug lord we’ve ever seen in the world," McCaul said. "I think extradition to the United States where there are multiple indictments in multiple cities – in San Diego, New York, in Texas and Chicago – where we can deal with him in a secure safe way and bring him to justice."

The chairman also addressed criticisms that the current Mexican president has been soft on cartels, describing the arrest on Saturday as a positive sign.  "I think what has happened here is very significant in terms of the cooperation with Mexico," he said. "President Pena Nieto has demonstrated that he is tough on these cartels. He brought out the Los Zetas leader, who is arguably the most lethal cartel, and now the biggest fish ever, and that is El Chapo Guzman."

Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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