“Mexico frees drug lord Caro Quintero after 28 years in prison for killing of U.S. agent”

August 12, 2013

The Washington Post on August 9, 2013 released the following:

“By Associated Press

MEXICO CITY — Infamous drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero walked free Friday after 28 years in prison when a court overturned his 40-year sentence for the 1985 kidnapping and killing of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent, a brutal murder that marked a low point in U.S.-Mexico relations.

The U.S. Department of Justice said Friday it was extremely disappointed by the release of the man convicted in the killing of DEA agent Enrique Camarena, calling it “deeply troubling.”

Mexico’s Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said in a statement that he was “worried” about the court’s decision, adding that his office is analyzing whether there are any charges pending against Caro Quintero.

Caro Quintero, 60, was a founding member of one of Mexico’s earliest and biggest drug cartels. The court ruled Wednesday that he had been improperly tried in a federal court for a crime that should have been treated as a state offense. Prison officials were notified of the ruling on Thursday, and an official at the Jalisco state prosecutors’ office said the drug lord left prison before dawn on Friday. The official was not authorized to speak on the record.

News media were not alerted until hours after the release, and U.S. authorities apparently received no prior notification.

“The Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration learned today that early this morning Rafael Caro Quintero was released from prison,” said Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr.

The DEA, meanwhile, said it “will vigorously continue its efforts to ensure Caro-Quintero faces charges in the United States for the crimes he committed. “

Caro Quintero still faces charges in the United States, but Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office said it was unclear whether there was a current extradition request.

Apparently, the U.S. had requested his extradition for the Camarena killing — something Caro Quintero can’t be tried twice for — but may not have filed extradition requests for pending U.S. drug charges.

The U.S. Department of Justice said it “has continued to make clear to Mexican authorities the continued interest of the United States in securing Caro Quintero’s extradition so that he might face justice in the United States. “

Caro Quintero helped establish a powerful cartel based in the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa that later split into some of Mexico’s largest cartels, including the Sinaloa and Juarez cartels.

He is still listed as one of the DEA’s five top international fugitives, and U.S. authorities believe he continued to control the laundering of drug money from behind bars.

“Caro Quintero continues to launder the proceeds from narcotics trafficking and he maintains an alliance with drug trafficking organizations such as the Sinaloa Cartel, most notably with Esparragoza Moreno’s network,” said Treasury Department spokesman John Sullivan, referring to Juan Jose Esparragoza Moreno, also known as “El Azul,” or “Blue” because of the dark color of his skin, who is allegedly a top leader of the Sinaloa cartel.

In June, the Treasury Department imposed sanctions against 18 people and 15 companies that allegedly moved money for Caro Quintero.

“Caro Quintero has used a network of family members and front persons to invest his fortune into ostensibly legitimate companies and real estate projects in the city of Guadalajara” said Adam Szubin, Director of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. Caro Quintero has spent almost his entire sentence at a prison on the outskirts of that city, Mexico’s second-largest city.

Mexico’s relations with Washington were badly damaged when Caro Quintero ordered Camarena kidnapped, tortured and killed, purportedly because he was angry about a raid on a 220-acre (89-hectare) marijuana plantation in central Mexico named “Rancho Bufalo” — Buffalo Ranch — that was seized by Mexican authorities at Camarena’s insistence.

Camarena was kidnapped on Feb. 7, 1985, in Guadalajara, a major drug trafficking center. His body and that of his Mexican pilot, both showing signs of torture, were found a month later, buried in shallow graves.

American officials accused their Mexican counterparts of letting Camarena’s killers get away. Caro Quintero was eventually hunted down in Costa Rica.

At one point, U.S. Customs agents almost blocked the U.S. border with Mexico, slowing incoming traffic to a standstill while conducting searches of all Mexicans trying to enter the United States.

Camarena’s fellow DEA agents considered him a hero in the war against drug trafficking and the El Paso Intelligence Center, where U.S. federal agencies collect information about Mexican drug barons, is dedicated to him.

Times have changed since the low point, and cooperation has strengthened, but Caro Quintero’s release Friday reopened old wounds.

Edward Heath, the former DEA regional director for Mexico at the time of the Camarena killing who was present during the identification of the agent’s body from dental records, said the release reflected a broader lack of cooperation with the U.S. from the new Mexican government, a contrast to the policy of former President Felipe Calderon.

“You had a president that was working very close with our government in a quiet way. These people come in and so, boom, the curtain comes down,” said Heath, now a private security consultant. “It means a disrespect for our government.”

He said he was skeptical of the explanation that there was a justifiable legal rationale for Caro Quintero’s release.

“There’s some collusion going on,” he said. “This guy is a major trafficker. This guy is bad, a mean son of a gun.”

Caro Quintero is said to have pioneered links between Colombian cocaine cartels and the Mexican smugglers who transport their drugs into the United States.

The ruling left many wondering why it took so many years for judges to determine Caro Quintero was tried in the wrong court.

“They were always ‘political’ prisoners serving sentences for as long as the U.S. kept up the pressure,” said a former DEA official who once worked in Mexico. He is not authorized to talk about the case because he still does work in Mexico.

“The bribe money to get them out was always there. Mexican ‘justice’ is always built on very weak foundations. And they seem to like it that way. Sad,” he added.

Raul Benitez, a security expert at Mexico’s National Autonomous University, said the ruling may portend more such procedural rulings following the January freeing of French citizen Florence Cassez, who was convicted in Mexico for being part of a kidnapping ring.

The Frenchwoman served seven years of a 60-year sentence before Mexico’s Supreme Court voted 3-2 to release her in January because of procedural and rights violations during her arrest, including police staging a recreation of her capture for the media.

“What appears to be coming is an avalanche of judicial appeals, with the drug traffickers hiring very good, very expensive lawyers, arguing there were violations of due process,” said Benitez. “The government is going to have problems.”

Mexican courts and prosecutors have long tolerated illicit evidence such as forced confessions and have frequently based cases on questionable testimony or hearsay. Such practices have been banned by recent judicial reforms, but past cases — including those against high-level drug traffickers — are often rife with such legal violations.

“The government has to be prepared to keep an eye on judges so that they don’t fall into the easy argument of due process,” Benitez said, “because there may also be judges who are receiving money” to accept such arguments.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

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We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Mexico here.

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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“Leader of Zetas drug cartel captured: ’40’ may be extradited to U.S.”

July 17, 2013

Los Angeles Times on July 16, 2013 released the following:

“By Tracy Wilkinson

MEXICO CITY _ Miguel Angel Treviño Morales, top leader of the vicious Zetas drug-and-extortion cartel, was in a cell in Mexico City on Tuesday, awaiting interrogation and possible extradition to the United States.

Treviño, known as “40,” was transported to the capital late Monday after his capture in the border city of Nuevo Laredo by Mexican navy special forces following what authorities described as a long pursuit based in part on U.S.-supplied intelligence. Mexican media showed images of him striding in to the federal prosecutor’s organized crime unit, wearing a black polo shirt, escorted by military guards but without handcuffs or other restraints.

Treviño was considered one of the most brutal leaders of a particularly brutal organization, one that branched out from drug trafficking to extortion, kidnapping and the smuggling of migrants — who Treviño and his men routinely slaughtered when they did not cooperate or pay up, authorities say.

Mexico under siege

His arrest marks the most significant blow to organized crime since President Enrique Peña Nieto took office more than seven months ago. His government will certainly attempt to use the arrest to prove its commitment in the drug war — a commitment that has been questioned in many circles, including among U.S. officials who had previously worked extremely closely with their Mexican counterparts but found the rules changing under the new administration.

But the capture will also likely ignite a bloody wave of violence as Treviño’s cohorts fight to succeed him.

It also strengthens the hand of the most powerful drug lord in Mexico, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, whose Sinaloa Cartel competes with the Zetas and may now have its eyes on Nuevo Laredo, Treviño’s hometown and one of the most lucrative crossing points for the shipment of tons of cocaine and marijuana into the U.S.

Under Treviño, the Zetas “controlled hundreds of miles of Mexican territory along the border of Mexico and the United States, which they used to conduct their drug trafficking and money laundering operations” that were valued in millions of dollars, a 2012 indictment in U.S. federal court stated.

The U.S., which had offered a $5-million reward for his arrest, may seek Treviño’s extradition.

The Zetas were formed nearly a decade ago by leaders of the Gulf cartel as their muscle, recruited from a group of deserters from the Mexican army. But the Zetas eventually split from the cartel and surpassed it, spreading its operations through southern Mexico and Central America and exhibiting levels of brutality not previously seen with such regularity. Beheadings, massacres of migrants, torture and dismembering of live victims all became routine parts of the Zetas repertoire.

Authorities believe the Zetas are responsible for many of the more than 70,000 people killed in the last six years of a military-led offensive against powerful drug cartels and fighting among the traffickers.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Mexico here.

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Colombia to extradite an alleged drug trafficker to the US

March 18, 2013

UPI.com on March 14, 2013 released the following updated story:

“BOGOTA, March 14 (UPI) — The supreme court in Colombia approved the extradition of Diego Perez Henao to face charges in the United States for allegedly trafficking cocaine.

Henao, who is known by the name Diego Rastrojo, was arrested June 3 in Venezuela for his role as the military command of the drug trafficking organization Los Rastrojos, an offshoot of the now-defunct Norte del Valle Cartel, Colombia Reports said Wednesday.

Los Rastrojos allegedly has ties to Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel.

Rastrojo will face charges in federal court in Florida for allegedly trafficking tons of cocaine into the United States, the website reported.

He is being investigated in Colombia for his alleged involvement in killings, forced disappearances and extortion.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Colombia here.

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Colombia Awaits Extradition of Alleged Drug Trafficker

November 10, 2012

ABC News on November 9, 2012 released the following updated story:

“By CESAR GARCIA Associated Press
BOGOTA November 9, 2012 (AP)

Colombian police are waiting for the extradition of a drug trafficker caught in Venezuela who they say is one of the main suppliers of Mexican cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, one of the world’s most sought-after drug lords.

Police said Jorge Milton Cifuentes Villa was captured in Venezuela late Thursday and would be deported to Colombia in the coming days. A U.S. court in Florida is also asking for his extradition on drug trafficking charges.

“The organization of Cifuentes Villa is one of the main suppliers of cocaine for the Sinaloa cartel,” which is headed by Guzman, Colombian police Gen. Jose Roberto Leon said at a news conference Friday.

Known as “JJ,” Cifuentes Villa was captured with the help of tips provided to Colombia’s Directorate of Criminal Investigation and Interpol. His arrest was announced by Venezuela’s interior and justice ministers Thursday via Twitter.

Leon praised the capture by Venezuelan authorities and said the 47-year-old Cifuentes Villa had tried to use a false identification document using the name Juan Carlos Lopez Mejia before he was caught.

The suspect’s brother, Francisco Cifuentes Villa, was a well-known member of a right-wing paramilitary group that doubled as a drug trafficking operation. He was murdered in 2007 at a farm in Colombia’s northeastern state of Antioquia.

Francisco Cifuentes Villa allegedly began dealing drugs with the feared Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, who headed the Medellin cartel until he was killed in December 1993.

Police say that after Francisco Cifuentes Villa was killed, his siblings took over the illegal business and forged an alliance with Guzman.

Colombian police say the Cifuentes Villa brothers sent about 30 tons of cocaine to the United States in the past three years. Police say Jorge Milton Cifuentes Villa owns about 40 businesses in Latin America, Spain and the United States while the Cifuentes Villa family has amassed a fortune of some $331 million.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Colombia here.

We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Venezuela here.

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Suspected Mexican drug ‘queen’ extradited to U.S.

August 10, 2012
Sandra Avila Beltran
“Sandra Avila Beltran, also known as the “Queen of the Pacific.””

CNN on August 10, 2012 released the following:

“By the CNN Wire Staff

Mexico City (CNN) — One of the most high-profile women accused of connections with Mexico’s drug trade was extradited to the United States Thursday, officials said.

Mexican police handed over Sandra Avila Beltran, known as “The Queen of the Pacific,” to U.S. marshals at an airport in central Mexico Thursday morning, Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office said in a statement.

She will face cocaine trafficking charges in a federal court in Florida, prosecutors said.

Avila was once a key drug trafficking link between Colombia and Mexico, prosecutors have said. She was arrested in Mexico City on September 28, 2007, smiling before cameras as authorities trumpeted her detention.

Since then, her life has been the subject of a best-selling book and a popular ballad.

“The more beautiful the rose, the sharper the thorns,” says one line in “The Queen of Queens,” Los Tigres del Norte’s song describing Avila.

Her eye-catching nickname has regularly made headlines as Mexico’s case against her made its way through the nation’s courts.

A judge convicted her on money laundering charges, but ruled that Mexican prosecutors didn’t provide enough evidence to convict her of drug trafficking.

In 2011, authorities in Mexico City said they were investigating a tip that prison medical personnel had allowed a doctor to give Avila a Botox injection.

Avila denied that accusation, Mexico’s state-run Notimex news agency reported.

For more than two years, Avila has tried to block a U.S. extradition request. A Mexican judge ruled that she could be extradited in June.

A 2008 U.S. Congressional Research Service report described Avila as “a senior member of the Sinaloa cartel who was instrumental” in building ties with Colombian traffickers.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Avila was suspected of conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the United States along with Juan Diego Espinosa, a Colombian national who was also known as “The Tiger.”

The DEA said that in November 2001, Espinosa, Avila and others “allegedly arranged the shipment of cocaine from Colombia to the United States by ship.” The ship, loaded with 9,291 kilograms of cocaine, was boarded by U.S. agents near Manzanillo, on Mexico’s Pacific coast.

U.S. authorities extradited Espinosa from Mexico in 2008. A judge sentenced him to six years in prison after he pleaded guilty to a cocaine distribution conspiracy charge in 2009. A court document signed as part of the plea agreement said that he and Avila had taken part in a deal to distribute 100 kilograms of cocaine in Chicago.

In the United States, Avila faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if she is convicted of charges of conspiracy to import and sell cocaine, according to a 2004 indictment filed in U.S. district court.

In a 2009 interview with Anderson Cooper that aired on “60 Minutes” and CNN, Avila denied the charges against her, and blamed Mexico’s government for allowing drug trafficking to flourish.

“In Mexico there’s a lot of corruption, A lot. Large shipments of drugs can come into the Mexican ports or airports without the authorities knowing about it. It’s obvious and logical. The government has to be involved in everything that is corrupt,” she said.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Mexico here.

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Guatemalan court orders extradition of suspected drug kingpin

August 7, 2012

Chicago Tribune on August 6, 2012 released the following:

“Reuters

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) – A Guatemalan court decided on Monday to extradite a 72-year-old suspected drug trafficker to the United States because of his alleged ties to Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa cartel.

Waldemar Lorenzana, who has said he is innocent, was arrested last year while driving in the town of El Jicaro, 40 miles northeast of Guatemala City.

Authorities accuse Lorenzana of running a large cocaine smuggling racket for the Sinaloa Cartel, pushing drug shipments from Colombia to the United States.

The U.S. Treasury Department has placed Lorenzana and his three sons Eliu, Haroldo and Waldemar, on a list of Central American drug kingpins and a U.S. district court in New York has requested his extradition on drug trafficking charges.

Lorenzana’s youngest son Eliu was arrested last year and in February a Guatemalan court issued an extradition order for the 40-year-old suspected drug trafficker to face similar charges in the United States.

The elder Lorenzana’s other sons are still at large and the U.S. government has offered a $200,000 reward for information leading to their arrests.

Guatemalan President Otto Perez must ratify the extradition order before a date is set to send Lorenzana to the U.S. to face charges.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Guatemala here.

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Guatemala to possibly extradite alleged Sinaloa cartel member to the United States (U.S.)

June 13, 2012

Fox News Latino on June 13, 2012 released the following:

“Guatemala to extradite Sinaloa cartel member to U.S.

A Guatemalan court has given the United States 40 working days to present evidence against Walter Alirio Montejo, a Guatemalan suspected of belonging to Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel and the subject of a U.S. extradition request, judicial officials said.

Montejo was arrested Sunday in Huehuetenango, a province on the border with Mexico.

The suspect appeared before a criminal court in Guatemala City on Tuesday and refused to make a statement.

The court has given a U.S. federal court in the District of Columbia time to present evidence to back the extradition request.

The 38-year-old Montejo allegedly belongs to the Sinaloa cartel, Mexico’s oldest and most powerful drug trafficking organization, and is wanted on drug charges in the United States.

An arrest warrant was issued for Montejo by U.S. authorities in 2010, judicial officials said.

Montejo allegedly received drugs in Guatemala from South America that were bound for the United States.

The suspect belonged to the Los Lorenzana gang, which smuggled drugs into Mexico from Huehuetenango, judicial officials said, adding that the narcotics were later smuggled into the United States.

Montejo, according to Guatemalan authorities, was the target of a hit in November 2008 that sparked a shootout between Mexican and Guatemalan drug traffickers that left 17 people dead in a village in Huehuetenango.

Waldemar Lorenzana, the suspected leader of the Los Lorenzana gang, was arrested in April 2011 at the request of the United States, where he is the subject of an extradition case.

Guatemalan authorities have not yet acted on the request for the extradition of Lorenzana, who faces drug charges in the United States.

Elio Lorenzana, Waldemar’s son, was arrested in Guatemala in November 2011 and his extradition was authorized in February.

The Sinaloa cartel is led by Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman, who was arrested in Guatemala in 1993 and pulled off a Hollywood-style jailbreak when he escaped from the Puente Grande maximum-security prison in the western Mexican state of Jalisco on Jan. 19, 2001.

The Sinaloa organization is sometimes referred to by officials as the Pacific cartel.

Guzman, considered extremely violent, is one of the most-wanted criminals in Mexico and the United States, where the Drug Enforcement Administration has offered a reward of $5 million for him. EFE”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Guatemala here.

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

————————————————————–

International criminal defense questions, but want to be anonymous?

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