How likely is the extradition to the U.S. of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán? The Christian Science Monitor says that, “When that will happen, or if it will, is tenuous, diplomacy experts say, as it depends largely on the political tightrope between Mexico and the United States as well as the ability of Mexican authorities to prove they can keep Guzmán in lockdown after a 2001 escape.” Guzmán, the leader of the Sinaloa cartel, remains a feared presence in Mexico. Mexico has plenty of motivation to handle the case effectively on its own.
“Because this is a high-profile case, [Mexican President Enrique] Peña Nieto wants to demonstrate Mexico is capable of doing its own business without depending on its neighbor up north to do so,” says Sylvia Longmire, author of the book “Cartel: The Coming Invasion of Mexico's Drug Wars.” “This is going to be a completely political question. Extradition is extremely complicated,” says George Grayson of the College of William & Mary, author of “The Cartels: The Story of Mexico's Most Dangerous Criminal Organizations and Their Impact on U.S. Security.” Until now, Peña Nieto has sought to distance himself from the cartel wars, shifting focus to rooting out violence, Grayson says. Having Guzmán in Mexico is the “800-pound gorilla in the room,” he says. “It will make the drug war more salient, and that's the last thing he wants.”