Mexico extradites drug lord 'El Chapo' to New York on eve of Trump inauguration

January 20, 2017 07:54

 CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico/NEW YORK, Jan 19 - Mexico extradited its drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to New York on Thursday, likely ending a decades-long criminal career that included two jail breaks and a lead role in a national drug war, the day before Donald Trump assumes the US presidency.

Mexican officials said the timing of the move was both a last-minute gift to outgoing US President Barack Obama and an olive branch to Trump, who has regularly insulted Mexico and threatened to tear up the NAFTA trade agreement that underpins its economy.

Guzman, 59, arrived in a small jet at Long Island's MacArthur Airport after nightfall and left in a column of vehicles. Later a police convoy believed to be carrying the kingpin arrived at Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center, a maximum-security federal prison, with helicopters swooping overhead.

At least three female inmates chanted "Chapo! Chapo!" at the top of their voices from their barred cell window.

One of the world's most wanted drug kingpins until he was captured a year ago, Guzman busted out of a high-security penitentiary in central Mexico six months earlier through a mile-long tunnel, his second dramatic prison escape.

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