Mexico to extradite Colombian drugs convict to U.S.
MEXICO CITY, Mar 23 (Reuters) A convicted Colombian drug trafficker jailed in Mexico since 1992 will be sent to the United States to face cocaine charges, authorities said, in what may be the first in a parade of high-profile extraditions.
Javier Pardo Cardona was handed over to Mexico's Attorney General's office for extradition after completing his prison sentence on drug charges in Mexico, the security ministry said yesterday.
He is wanted in Alabama on charges of importing 1,443 pounds (656 kg) of cocaine, the ministry said.
Officials say Pardo Cardona worked in Mexico for Colombia's Medellin cartel shipping cocaine to the United States.
The United States has been pressing for years for the extradition of drug kingpins, but Mexican legislation had made the process difficult.
President Vicente Fox said earlier this month that Mexico would soon begin extraditing drug lords wanted in the United States and that would likely generate a violent backlash from the cartels.
Fox said in an interview with Reuters that an unspecified number of suspected drug barons would be extradited after a series of Supreme Court rulings made the process easier.
More than 1,000 people were killed in drug violence across Mexico last year, many of them police, and Fox predicted the violence would intensify and likely target judges and other anti-drug officials.
REUTERS SK KP1031