The Mexican government extradited its most notorious drug kingpin, the often elusive Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, to the U.S. to face federal charges related to the trafficking of tons of narcotics over more than two decades, reports the Washington Post. The transfer culminated a lengthy court battle by Guzmán’s lawyers for him to remain in Mexico, where he had repeatedly managed to escape from prison and had lived like a king most of the time he was behind bars. A Mexican official said the extradition was meant as a “farewell gift” to President Obama and not as an overture to President-elect Donald Trump. Trump has sharply criticized Mexico and vowed to make it pay for a U.S. border wall.
Even though Mexico’s new foreign minister, Luis Videgaray, developed close contacts with the Trump team during the campaign, the Guzmán extradition was intended to signal Trump that not all negotiations with Mexico would be so easy. The message to Trump, said the official, is that “nothing is for free.” Guzmán, who was recaptured a year ago after having escaped from prison in July 2015, is wanted by the U.S. for trafficking heroin, cocaine and other drugs across the border, among other crimes. He has been indicted in at least seven U.S. federal courts. Guzmán, who has twice escaped from Mexican prisons, was turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration in Ciudad Juárez, across the border from El Paso, Tx., the Associated Press reported. He was put on a plane bound for New York, one of the jurisdictions where he faces federal charges.