As If There Was A Question: Mexican Courts OK El Chapo’s Extradition
May 23, 2016 (Mimesis Law) — In what has been a foregone conclusion to anyone with his ear to the ground, big-time alleged drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has been ordered by a Mexican court to be extradited to the U.S. From CBS News:
Friday’s ruling covered an extradition request from a Texas federal court related to charges of conspiracy to import and distribute cocaine and marijuana, money-laundering, arms possession and murder, and another extradition request from a federal court in California.
In all, Guzman faces charges from seven U.S. federal prosecutors including in Chicago, New York, Miami and San Diego. (Emphasis added.)
We’re placing emphasis on the cities for a reason. But first, let’s focus on the background.
For quite a while, Mexico has been mired in some serious fighting with its drug cartels. And the U.S., for better or worse, gives Mexico a bunch of money that’s earmarked for its battle against drug cartels. It’s similar to the “Plan Colombia” that was used to give Colombia the means to eradicate the FARC rebel group, which for over half a century utilized drug trafficking and kidnapping for ransom as its source of income. So in a sense, Mexico, like Colombia, owes us big. And they will do anything and everything to extradite someone who’s wanted by the U.S. Department of Justice. Hence, the “foregone conclusion” intro. Not all politics are local.
So as Mexico, and the U.S., for that matter, battles and — as some may say — loses the drug war, people become defendants in criminal court. And the latest proverbial big fish, El Chapo (which means “shorty” in Spanish), embarrassed Mexico’s president when he escaped from a maximum security prison (again), but was captured again after a Hollywood-style gun fight.
Now that El Chapo is U.S. federal court bound, the insanity continues. In several American jurisdictions, he is facing charges that carry life sentences. And after he (very likely) gets a life sentence in the first case, he will be transferred to another jurisdiction to face separate charges. Where taxpayers’ dime and time will be used to indict, prosecute, and sentence someone who is already doomed to die in a hole. For now, it’s all about who gets him first. This is something that makes the U.S. government look unnecessarily spiteful and, even worse, petty. By the time he gets to Chicago, he will have already been sentenced to a slow death.
This reminds us of the moronic “debate” about how Guantanamo detainees couldn’t be housed in the U.S. prison system because they might escape. El Chapo, who undoubtedly has caught wind of the U.S. Bureau of Prison’s Spartan accommodations for convicted drug dealers, is fighting tooth and nail to stay south of the border:
Guzman’s lawyers have so far waged a public-relations offensive, speaking to the press and even organizing protests; but as extradition draws nearer, the battle could turn violent, like the one Colombian drug lords waged against extradition in the 1980s, said Mike Vigil, a former head of international operations for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Vigil said there is still the appeals process and he expects Guzman’s attorneys to “try to move heaven and earth” to prevent him from being extradited, noting that drug lords fear extradition because it removes them from their criminal infrastructure.
No matter how much you despise El Chapo, or any other “criminal,” someone getting multiple life sentences has to sound a bit bizarre. Yes, we have the notion that “justice” has to be served throughout, no matter how impractical or expensive. But once someone has a life sentence hanging over their head, what’s the purpose?
Aside from El Chapo dying in prison, the only other guarantee is that if the federal prosecutor who handles his case decides to go to the “dark side” of criminal defense, he will get a nice corner office at some big white-collar firm. Where he will spend most of his time walking clients over to “debriefings” at the prosecutor’s office, because everyone who is charged must be guilty, and even if they’re not, they’ll certainly be convicted if they don’t cooperate.
Now, what the U.S. does with client-states like Mexico can be considered an outsourcing when it comes to law enforcement. The U.S. cannot collar Mexican drug dealers while they are abroad, so it gives Mexico funds when it can’t (or won’t) catch those who sign up to provide for America’s insatiable need for narcotics. That can become a problem when foreign law enforcement engages in sick, nefarious, illegal conduct to further those means. It adds another dimension to what is being done in our name. The line gets fuzzy as to who are the war criminals and who are the soldiers fighting the drug war.
The U.S. has endured some embarrassing episodes when it comes to funding the “good guys” to fight the good fight abroad. Pakistan comes to mind as the most recent client-state that stabbed the U.S. in the
back front after receiving loads of cash to combat a perceived common enemy. And it is always somehow shocking to those who sign off on the grants that these “friends” of America did something untoward and inhumane in furtherance of the task we put on their agenda. In our name. For shame.