Friday, January 2, 2009

Mexico- U.S. Extraditions: Record Year

Mexico sent 10 alleged drug smugglers to the U.S. on Wednesday, capping an already record year for extraditions between the two countries. Several were high-ranking members of Mexico's most powerful drug gangs, including the Gulf and Tijuana-based Arellano-Felix cartels, Mexico's attorney general's office said in a news release. The suspects will face charges in California, Texas, Florida and Georgia.

Extradition has often run into the public relations roadblock of national sovereignty, often an excuse used by politicians to cover their political rear.

U.S. Ambassador Tony Garza praised the action as another example of President Felipe Calderón's resolve to go after cartels. Since taking office in 2006, Mr. Calderón has made it a priority to extradite drug suspects, who previously would operate from their Mexican jail cells.

This is an interesting point: in the article in El Universal on 25 December 2008 about El Hummer, the Zeta that was arrested in Reynosa by Mexican federal agents, said Hummer said that the leader of the Gulf cartel, Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, continues to run the cartel (with police protection, though which police provides said protection is left unclear) from, after extradition, his jail cell in the United States.

Of course, the ambassador was speaking to the press, whilst El Hummer was speaking to federal agents.

ednesday's group brings the number of suspects extradited from Mexico to the U.S. to 95 this year, 12 more than the previous high in 2007, according to the U.S. Embassy.

The violence these criminals perpetrate in their homeland damages the image of Mexico, hurting tourism, a vitally important industry for the nation. Of course it also hurts the nation and its people. Eradicating them will be a long struggle, but President Calderón has made good on his promise to fight narcos.

A website found as a a Wikipedia source(a librarian using such a site? only advisedly, and for secondary or anecdotal purposes - and it does have a great picture) states that For years, Mexico’s narco-traffickers have feared one thing more than any: extradition to the United States. In the U.S. prison system, the thinking goes, these guys are rendered impotent, away from their castles, their money and their connections. El Hummer seems to disagree.

The alleged Arellano-Felix members face maximum sentences of life in federal prison and minimum sentences between 10 and 20 years, said Laura Duffy, a federal prosecutor in San Diego.

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