Drug lord Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman extradited to US

Senior US officials have confirmed that the convicted Sinaloa cartel boss has been escorted to New York

Drug lord Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman extradited to US

File photo. | Eduardo Verdugo AP/Press Association Images

Mexico's government has extradited drug lord Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman to the US, where is wanted on drug trafficking charges.

Senior US officials have confirmed that the convicted Sinaloa cartel boss has been escorted to New York - the day before Donald Trump is inaugurated as President of the United States.

Guzman, a notorious drug kingpin, was recaptured last year after managing to break out of a maximum-security prison through a mile-long tunnel in his cell.

He had been held in a jail near Ciudad Juarez, where he fought against his extradition to the States.

But Guzman's legal challenges were rejected by both the Supreme Court and an appeals court, which ruled that his rights had not been violated.

The US Drug Enforcement Administration took custody of Guzman in Ciudad Juarez, which is just across the border from the city of El Paso in Texas.

Guzman faces the possibility of life in prison and has been charged with multiple offences in six jurisdictions across the US - including San Diego, Chicago and Miami.

A federal indictment in New York, where Guzman is expected to be prosecuted, accuses him of overseeing a trafficking cartel with thousands of members. It also alleges that billions of dollars in profits were laundered back to Mexico.

Guzman and other members of the Sinaloa cartel are also accused of employing hit men who carried out kidnappings, murders and acts of torture.

The US Department of Justice said details about Guzman's initial court appearance would be "forthcoming", but it did not confirm where the prisoner is going to be held.

Its statement added: "The Justice Department extends its gratitude to the government of Mexico for their extensive cooperation and assistance in securing the extradition of Guzman."

Guzman was first captured in Guatemala in 1993. His first escape from a maximum-security prison in Mexico's west came eight years later in 2001, when he evaded detection by hiding in a laundry cart.

Marines supported by the US Drug Enforcement Administration detained him in February 2014 in the Sinaloa resort of Mazatlan, where he had been staying with his wife and twin daughters.

At the time, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto refused to extradite him - and vowed that the drug lord would face justice on home soil.

But in May 2015, Guzman escaped from prison once again in spectacular fashion, aided by his henchmen.

The authorities managed to track him down after he held a secret meeting with the American actor Sean Penn.

During their discussion, which Penn wrote about for Rolling Stone magazine, Guzman boasted: "I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world. I have a fleet of submarines, planes, trucks and boats."