Timing of Mexico drug lord’s extradition seen as political

1/20/2017 Associated Press 

ElChapoMEXICO CITY (AP) — Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s abrupt exit to face charges in the U.S. marks the end of an era in which he was Mexico’s most notorious drug cartel boss and, for some, the stuff of folk legend.

It’s also seen by many in Mexico as a delicately timed maneuver aimed at limiting political fallout for President Enrique Pena Nieto, already deeply unpopular in part for his perceived mishandling of Donald Trump’s tough rhetoric on Mexico.

Deputy Attorney General Alberto Elias Beltran, asked at a Thursday night news conference about the timing of Guzman’s extradition, said the federal government cannot interfere in court decisions.

“It was resolved today, and we under terms of the international treaty had to make the handover immediately,” he said.

But observers still considered the timing to have been carefully planned.

“It could be a coincidence, but I think that’s unlikely,” Mexican security analyst Alejandro Hope said, noting it came the last full day of Barack Obama’s presidency and hours before Trump’s inauguration.

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