The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

February 24, 2014

Guzman not likely to be in US court soon

(Continued)

Calls for his extradition to the United States started just hours after word spread of his arrest Saturday morning at a condominium in Mazatlan, a beach resort town on Mexico's Pacific Coast.

Jack Riley, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Chicago office, told the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper Saturday that he believes federal prosecutors there have the best case against Guzman in the United States.

"I fully intend for us to have him tried here," said Riley said.

George Grayson, a professor at the College of William and Mary who studies Mexico's cartels, said domestic politics in Mexico are likely to play a significant role in how Mexico decides Guzman's legal future.

"It's going to be a completely political decision," Grayson said. "It's going to be framed by how does this help ... in next year's congressional elections."

Mexico's president, Enrique Pena Nieto, has taken a starkly different approach to fighting the violent drug cartels than his predecessor, Felipe Calderon.

Calderon routinely touted his administration's fight against the criminal gangs and sent thousands of police and military troops to various hot spots around the country to take them on. But Pena Nieto, who took office in late 2012, has been more muted on the criminal enterprises, instead championing other domestic concerns, including the economy and education.

Guzman's arrest by Mexican federal forces with the help of the DEA, the U.S. Marshal Service and Immigration and Customs Enforcement is already seen as one of the biggest achievements for Pena Nieto's young administration. And he may not want to relinquish the win quickly.

"It's my personal opinion that they are going to say they want to hang on to him simply because of that fact that he is the crown jewel of the Pena Nieto administration, in terms of their counterdrug efforts," said Michael Vigil, a former senior DEA agent who has worked in Mexico and has been briefed on Guzman's arrest.

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