Alleged Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán Loera is in Mexican custody again, President Enrique Peña Nieto said in a tweet on Friday that proclaimed “mission accomplished.” But how long will El Chapo sit behind bars in Mexico? The reputed narcotrafficker has escaped from maximum-security prisons twice, first in 2001 and most recently in July 11 of 2015. El Chapo’s more likely “escape” following his capture is a swift extradition to the U.S., where he faces prosecution on homicide, money laundering, organized crime, weapons possession and other charges.

Mexico has resisted or delayed U.S. extradition requests for Guzmán Loera in the past, moves that may have facilitated Guzmán Loera’s 2015 escape. To add insult to injury, Mexican officials approved the extradition request shortly after Guzmán Loera tunneled his way to freedom with the help of lackies in and outside the Mexican prison’s walls.

But Mexico’s most notorious and corrido-inspiring cartel icon still might have some cards up his sleeve. Guzmán Loera’s lawyers appealed the request while he was on the run in August. The most recent update on this fight came on September 23rd, when a Mexican judge approved the then-fugitive’s immediate carting-off to El Norte.

Will Guzmán be able to delay his extradition? As it stands now, El Chapo should be sent to the U.S., though an exact date is unknown. Also, he is rumored to have in influence across multiple levels in the Mexican bureaucracy, evidenced by the indictments of over a dozen Mexican officials in connection with have his 2015 escape.

Higher up the political food chain, Mexican officials have twice defended their reluctance to extradite Guzmán Loera as a matter of national pride. Anyone who supports him in private could use this rhetoric publically to overturn the September extradition.

Peña Nieto’s first Guzmán Loera tweet on Friday said only that he “had been detained.”



Guzmán Loera’s lawyers, not to mention the Peña Nieto administration, will have a tougher time resisting extradition this time around, if not from DEA pressure that from popular angst over the administration’s mounting failures to enforce the rule of law.

From the botched investigation in the Ayotzinapa massacre to the murder and kidnapping of political candidates in Mexico’s most recent midterm election, Peña Nieto has struggled to prove that his is not a failed state.

The president already appears to be racking up political points from Guzmán Loera’s capture, like Sonic the hedgehog dinging gold coins is a bonus round of Nintendo game based on the premise of never looking back.

EPN’s second tweet on Friday, trumpeted the actions of his administration as an “important accomplishment that favors the rule of law in Mexico." Yet to come is the tally in blood and treasure of the manhunt his administration failed to prevent.



Guzamán Loera’s capture in 2014 didn’t bring much pride to the Mexican people. Despite photo ops with Mexican Marines, it was the U.S. DEA and their human and wiretapping which was widely credited with bringing El Chapo in. Heavy DEA involvement in this latests manhunt suggests a repeat in the 2016 apprehension, though we don't yet know the details.

Will Peña Nieto’s administration allow the extradition to go through, or prolongs Guzmán Loera’s detention in Mexico? Giving El Chapo up to the Americans might be embarrassing for Mexico’s executive branch, but not as much as another escape.