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Mexico Extradites Top Drug Lords to US


Mexico has extradited 13 people associated with drug trafficking to the US, including two drug lords and a man accused over the killing of a US immigration and customs enforcement (ICE) agent in Mexico in 2011.

Among the group were Edgar Valdez Villarreal, known as La Barbie, a top lieutenant to the late Arturo Beltran Leyva who later led his own faction of the Beltran Leyva cartel, and Jorge Costilla Sanchez, known as El Cos, an alleged former leader of the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas, said the federal prosecutor Tomas Zeron.

He said the extradited group also included Jose Emanuel Garcia Sota, who is charged over the 2011 killing of ICE agent Jaime Zapata in San Luis Potosi.

Some of the prisoners were housed at Mexico’s maximum security facility, Altiplano, said a Mexican official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the press.

The official would not comment on the timing of the extradition, but Altiplano was the scene of a dramatic escape in July by the world’s most powerful drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. It is the place where Mexico houses many captured drug lords.

Valdez, who was arrested in 2010, faces drug trafficking charges in Texas, Louisiana and Georgia.

Costilla, who was arrested in 2012, was charged in 2002 in the southern district of Texas with importing and distributing cocaine and marijuana, money laundering, and threatening federal law enforcement officers with assault, kidnapping or murder, according to the US justice department.

“Today’s extraditions would not have been possible without the close collaboration and productive relationship the Department of Justice enjoys with officials at the highest levels of law enforcement in Mexico,” the US attorney general, Loretta Lynch, said in a statement.