World's Top Drug Kingpin in Underground Cell

US aiming to extradite Joaquin Guzman

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 23, 2014 4:26 PM CST

(Newser) – Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the head of the Sinaloa drug cartel, is being held in an underground cell near Mexico City following his arrest this weekend—and US federal prosecutors in New York want to extradite him. He's wanted in six districts in this country, NBC News reports: "I fully intend for us to have him tried here," says the Drug Enforcement Administration's Chicago office chief. Guzman was indicted in Chicago in 2009, the Chicago Tribune reports, and he could also see charges in Texas, California, or Arizona.

The US had a $5 million bounty on the kingpin, whose cartel "spans continents," in the words of attorney general Eric Holder. Guzman spent last night in a maximum security prison, the Los Angeles Times reports. The newspaper cites reports that Guzman was sleeping beside an AK-47 when US and Mexican authorities found him; he didn't get the chance to pick it up. What does his arrest mean for the cartel? "Absolutely nothing," one expert tells the Tribune; others agree, saying that he had little to do with Sinaloa's daily functioning.

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is escorted to a helicopter in handcuffs by Mexican navy marines at a navy hanger in Mexico City, Mexico, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014.   (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
In this image released by Mexico's Attorney General's Office Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is photographed against a wall after his arrest.   (AP Photo/PGR)
Clothes and toiletries are scattered on a bed in a bedroom of a high-rise condominium where famed drug boss Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was arrested, in Mazatlan, Mexico, Saturday Feb. 22, 2014.   (AP Photo/El Debate de Mazatlan)
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