el chapo guzman mexico.jpg
Photograph: EPA/MARIO GUZMAN

Accused cartel kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's extradition to the United States to face drug trafficking charges has been approved, the Mexican Foreign Ministry said Friday.

Mexican officials authorized the extradition after US authorities agreed to rule out the death penalty in the case, the ministry said.

Two judges in Mexico had previously approved Guzman's removal.

The US Justice Department confirmed that their extradition request had been approved by the Mexican Foreign Ministry but noted that Guzman could still appeal the government decision.

No plans were announced for when the extradition would be carried out.

The suspected head of the powerful Sinaloa cartel faces US federal charges including murder, drug trafficking and money laundering.

Guzman was recaptured in January after escaping from jail last year. He had previously been a fugitive following an earlier prison break more than a decade ago.

He was recently moved without notice to a prison in Ciudad Juarez on the US border.

Guzman has complained about his treatment in Mexican custody, but his attorneys have vowed to take every measure to prevent extradition, which is regulated by a treaty between Mexico and the United States.

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