July 24, 2015 / 8:19 PM / in 2 years

Guatemala extradites suspected drug lord with Mexico gang ties to U.S

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - A suspected Guatemalan drug kingpin with ties to the violent Mexican cartel Los Zetas was extradited to the United States on Friday to face trial for conspiring to traffic narcotics, the man’s lawyer said.

Jairo Orellana, known as “El Pelón,” or “the bald one,” was arrested in Guatemala in May 2014 after a shootout in which three people died.

He had fought being sent to the United States for more than a year, but changed his mind two weeks ago and decided to speed up the extradition, the lawyer said. It was unclear what prompted the change.

U.S. authorities said Orellana shipped large amounts of cocaine to the United States and placed him on a list of Central American capos, prohibiting U.S. citizens and companies from doing business with him.

The United States has linked Orellana to Los Zetas and to the Sinaloa Cartel, whose boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman escaped this month from a maximum security prison in Mexico.

Reporting by Sofia Menchu; Writing by Anna Yukhananov; Editing by Grant McCool

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